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Alkaline Battery Disposal

Is it OK to throw away alkaline batteries??
(Household AAA,AA,C,D,9v)


You pop those alkaline batteries out of your clock, remote or flashlight and drop them in the trash, with a pang of guilt. in this reduce-reuse-recycle era, you're fairly certain there must be an easy recycling option for them . . . isn't there?

Actually, no, there's not.

Recycle Rechargeable Maine recycles rechargeable, cell phone, and NiCad/button cell batteries because they are hazardous waste, and there's an economic value to recycling their components. Rechargeable and cell phone batteries can be placed in recycling boxes at the Public Works office, 351 North St, or at the Transfer Station on Foss Road. NiCad and button cell batteries can be recycled on one of the City's hazardous waste collection days.

Why can't I recycle alkaline?
Alkaline batteries haven't contained mercury for nearly two decades and contain a small amount of metal -- such as nickel, cobalt, zinc, manganese or silver. The core is zinc chloride. To say they're not recyclable isn't true, but at this point, there is no cost-effective method for de-manufacturing them.

Because of this, there is no alkaline battery recycling program set in the state of Maine, or really nationwide. 

If you use alkaline batteries, the best disposal option is to throw them away with your weekly trash, say the experts. Don't collect them in a separate container. They contain no hazardous materials and, pound for pound, would be 10 to 12 times more expensive to recycle than some of the most toxic wastes generated in Maine.

Separating alkaline batteries from your trash actually might be worse for the environment. In higher concentrations they could cause problems at incinerators or some cases, landfills. 

Is there an alternative?
Best Advice: If you don't like the idea of throwing away alkaline batteries, don't buy them and stop generating the waste. Instead, buy rechargeable batteries and commit to using them. They're more expensive than one-use batteries, and users have to monitor them a little more closely. But they do the job, and you can use the same batteries for several years at a time.