In California, batteries are considered hazardous waste when they are discarded because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials contained within. This includes all batteries sizes: AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9 Volt, and all other batteries, both rechargeable and single use. Therefore, batteries must be recycled, or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility or an authorized recycling facility.
Until they can be disposed of properly, caution should be taken when storing used or old household batteries. It is recommended that the exposed positive (+) terminals of the batteries be covered with electrical tape (or stored separately in ziplock bags) to inhibit the terminals from coming into contact or rubbing with other terminals or objects that can potentially cause a fire.
Where to Recycle or Safely Dispose Household Batteries
Santa Clara County has free household drop-off locations where residents can properly dispose of their used batteries during business hours. Recycling drop-off locations are for residents (households) ONLY. Residents are reminded to tape the positive (+) terminal on the batteries before dropping them off (D.O.T Regulation).
- Rechargeable Battery and Cell Phone Drop-Off Locator—Find where to recycle used rechargeable batteries from the Call2Recycle Web site.
- eRecycle.org—Recycle your batteries and electronics.
- Local Governmental Household Hazardous Waste Agencies — See the website to locate your local governmental household hazardous waste agency (listed by county) for the latest information in your area.
- The Big Green Box — The Big Green Box™ is a national program that offers companies, consumers, municipalities, and other generators, a low cost, easy, and flexible way to recycle their batteries and portable electronic devices. Once The Big Green Box™ is purchased, all shipping, handling, and recycling fees are included. The Big Green Box™ includes a UN approved, pre-labeled container, pre-paid shipping to and from the recycling facility, and of course, all recycling fees.
- Battery Solutions — Battery recycling solutions for businesses, governmental agencies, and consumers.
- Kinsbursky Brothers Inc — A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permitted battery-recycling facility in California.
Businesses are requested to call PSC Environmental at (916) 351-0980 to inquire about disposal and obtain business drop-off locations.
The cost of disposal for businesses is $25.00 processing fee and $1.00 per pound of waste.
For more information on recycling batteries, visit CalRecycle.
Additional Helpful Links
Where should I take my old batteries? Many local government agencies and retailers run programs that accept batteries and send them off for recycling. For information on local collection programs, locate your local governmental household hazardous waste agency (listed by county) for the latest information in your area: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/HomeHazWaste/Directory/
How should I store my old batteries until I can take them to a recycling center? Store your old batteries in a safe, dry place and out of the reach of children. For an extra measure of safety, place masking tape or some other seal over the terminals (battery ends).
Are retailers required to accept used batteries from consumers for recycling? Retailers of rechargeable batteries sold to consumers must accept and collect used rechargeable batteries for reuse, recycling or proper disposal. Although retailers are not required to take back any other kind of universal waste batteries, many voluntarily take back alkaline and other universal waste batteries. Check with your local retailer.