Approximately 40 per cent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Discarded batteries are an environmental hazard and must be dealt with. Even rechargeable batteries find their way into the waste stream eventually. The end goal is to keep batteries out of the landfill as they contain harmful toxic components that are detrimental for wildlife and the environment.
Properly disposing of batteries also decreases the risk of fires. What! Fires….. How is that possible?
Many batteries hold a residual charge even when they appear dead. When a battery that holds a residual charge comes into contact with other batteries or metal, a spark or heat can occur, which can be an ignition source for fires. Therefore, we must consider that unprotected battery terminals are dangerous and need to be dealt with in an appropriate manner.
Call2Recycle is the provincially-regulated, not-for-profit battery recycling program dedicated to the safe collection and recycling of used batteries. They have developed guidelines in alignment with Transport Canada and have appropriate ways of safely transporting batteries so they can be recycled into different products.
The 3rd Avenue Recycling Depot has set up a little station inside their building to assist you if you have not dealt with your batteries at home. They are providing appropriate material (clear, plastic bags and tape) but it’s best to ensure that batteries are drop-off ready as proper preparation can save staff time and resources.
Here is a guideline for the appropriate disposal of batteries:
- AA, AAA, C and D batteries can be bagged in bulk
- Dual terminal batteries such as 9-volt and large flashlight batteries need to be taped and the smaller 9 volt individually bagged
- Flat disc lithium batteries must be taped (this includes hearing aid batteries)
When taping batteries you want to tape the positive terminal (the side with the bump). For other battery types, tape the charging terminal. You want to only tape the terminals and not cover the entire battery so the battery label is still displayed. Use packing, electrical or duct tape although clear tape is preferred.Scotch tape or painter’s tape is not suitable.
If you have multiple flat disc batteries, lay down a piece of clear packing tape with the sticky side up. Place the disc batteries on the tape, making sure there’s space between the batteries. Cover with another layer of clear packing tape, this time with the sticky side down.
For more information on local recycling services you can refer to the ACRD website at acrd.bc.ca/recycling_schedules. To download the free ACRD Recycling and Waste Wizard app go to your mobile app store and find