Recycling Batteries in California - Free Practical Resources for Consumers and Businesses
If you are in California and have batteries of any type, alkaline, rechargeable Ni-Cd, Lead Acid car batteries, or other types of batter, this page will help you find a center to take them for recycling or proper disposal. For battery disposal and recycling in other states, see this page.
You may also be interested in these pages about recycling ./ disposing of Fluorescent Lamps and Tubes.
Batteries are considered hazardous because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials contained within the batteries. Batteries also have value due to their recyclable metal content. The Household Universal Waste Generation in California report from August 2002 says there were at least 500,000,000 batteries sold in California in 2001. Of these, 99.45% of the batteries were not recycled!
All batteries, of any type, are now considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded. This includes all batteries of sizes AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9 Volt, and all other batteries, both rechargeable and single use.
After February 8, 2006, all batteries must be take to one of the following:
- recycling center, or
- household hazardous waste disposal facility, or
- universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility or broker), or
See California's Universal Waste Rule (PDF, 108 KB) This regulation designates a category of hazardous wastes called "universal waste." This category includes many items, batteries, fluorescent lamps, cathode ray tubes, instruments that contain mercury, and others.
Where to Recycle or Safely Dispose Batteries in California
- Local Solutions
- The RBRC's Battery and Cell Phone Drop-Off Locator is your best starting point. They can tell you where to recycle used rechargeable batteries on the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) Web site.
- eRecycle.org—Recycle your batteries and electronics.
- Where Can I Recycle My...?—Call 1-800-CLEAN-UP (253-2687) or enter your ZIP code at this Web site to find the nearest recycling center. Includes information about most recyclable household waste, including household hazardous waste collection centers.
- Local Governmental Household Hazardous Waste Agencies—See the Web site for your local governmental household hazardous waste agency for the latest information in your area.
- Other Solutions
- 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.
- Toxco—A company that recycles most types and sizes of batteries including alkaline, Lithium, Mercury, NiCd, Lead and many others.
- Kinsbursky Brothers Inc—A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permitted battery-recycling facility in California.
What else can you do?
- Use Rechargeable Batteries— Most devices can be powered by rechcargeable abtteries instead of disposable. Rechargables have improved greatly in the past 10 years and now how a charge as long as a disposable battery, but can be reused hundreds of times.
- Look for Portable Electronic Devices that Do Not Use Batteries—There are a few that use no batteries at all, but instead use a solar cell or a capacitor that is recharged, typically by winding or shaking the device or by normal use.
- Reduce—Use single use batteries wisely to avoid unnecessary replacement and disposal.
- RBRC Battery Drop-Off Locator—Find where to recycle used rechargeable batteries.
- Batteries—Interesting facts about batteries from U.S. EPA Region 10.
Universal Waste Battery Web Site
The universal waste regulations streamline collection requirements for certain hazardous wastes including batteries.
- Battery Solutions - a recycler of commercial/business and consumer batteries. They offer battery recycling solutions for businesses, government, and households to better service environmentally conscious consumers, and satisfy compliance with government regulations.
- Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Act (PDF) (9 pp, 134K, about PDF)
- Implementation of the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act (PDF) (21 pages, 736K, about PDF)
- Battery Safety—From the Australian Army.
- Estimated Consumer Battery Sales in 1992—From U.S. EPA.
- RCRA Online, Batteries—Numerous technical and regulatory documents from U.S. EPA.
- Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) Web Site—How rechargeable battery recycling works.
- Regulation: Implementation of the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act—U. S. EPA, November, 1997. Portable Document Format (PDF), 848 KB.