Hazards

  • Batteries burned in waste combustion facilities can release mercury or cadmium to the air and water, ultimately entering the food chain and posing health threats to people and the environment.

Description Of Battery Categories

  • Alkaline Batteries (AAA, AA, C, D and 9 volt). Since 1994, most types contain no added mercury, and contain only trace amounts. These batteries are marked "no added mercury" or have a green tree logo.
  • Rechargeable Batteries (including Li-Ion, Ni-Cd, Ni-MH, Ni-ZN and SSLA/Pb) are sold in many sizes and shapes and are marked "rechargeable." Some may be built into small appliances. These batteries generally contain metals that pose risks to human health and the environment.
  • Button Batteries (small, round, silver-colored, used in watches and hearing aids): Many button batteries contain mercury, a metal that is toxic to humans when inhaled or ingested.
  • Lithium Batteries (AA, C, 9 volt and button; mainly used in computers and cameras). Lithium is reactive with water, and has caused serious fires.

Handling

  • Store in a secure, dry place out of the reach of children and pets. Button batteries can be swallowed because they are small and slippery.
  • When storing rechargeable batteries for collection, keep in a vented, non-metal container. Rechargeable batteries should be placed individually in plastic bags before being stored together with other rechargeables.

Management Options

  • Alkaline Batteries: Batteries currently manufactured in the United States contain no mercury and can be disposed of in the trash.
  • Rechargeable Batteries (including Li-Ion, Ni-Cd, Ni-MH, Ni-ZN and SSLA/Pb): Do NOT dispose of in the trash. Take to a retail collection location or a municipal recycling center that accepts rechargeable batteries. There are more than 400 collection sites in Massachusetts that are free to residents. Call 800-8-BATTERY or search Call2Recycle for the nearest retail collection location
  • Button Batteries: Do NOT dispose of in the trash. Many stores selling watches or hearing aids will accept spent button batteries. If your trash is handled by a waste-to-energy facility, find out if they have a mercury waste collection program, or hold for a local household hazardous waste collection day.
  • Lithium Batteries: Hold for a local household hazardous waste collection day.
  • A state contract for battery recycling is available for municipalities and public sector agencies. For a copy of the award notice, visit the COMMBUYS Electronic Procurement System and search for contract number FAC53.