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Rechargeable Batteries: How to Use, Reuse, Recycle and Dispose of Them

Click here to to find where you can drop off rechargeable batteries for recycling.

Are you looking for recycling centers and options for rechargeable batteries, such as NiCd (nicad, nickel-cadmium), lithium or other rechargeable batteries that no longer hold a charge? See this page for recycling locations for batteries from businesses, or this page for household batteries!

One way to reduce the number of batteries in the waste stream is to purchase rechargeable batteries. Nearly one in five dry-cell batteries purchased in the United States is rechargeable. Over its useful life, each rechargeable battery may substitute for hundreds of single-use batteries.

General Tips for rechargeable batteries:

bulletRead and follow the charging instructions provided with your product. Each charger utilizes a specific strategy to charge the battery.
bulletLet a discharged battery cool to room temperature before recharging. A warm battery will signal the thermal cut-off switch to stop the charging process prematurely, and the battery will not get a full charge.
bulletRecharge batteries only when they are near to fully discharged. A discharged battery can be detected by a sharp drop in speed or power, or by a reduction in the number of power indicators.
bulletReturn fully charged battery to the charger for an “extra boost”. This will overcharge the cells and significantly shorten their life-span.
bulletLeave your cellular phone, radio, etc. in the charger when not charging unless indicated by manufacture instructions. (i.e., don’t use the charger as a stand) Continuous charging will shorten battery life.
Rechargeable battery usage tips provided by the rechargeable power industry. These are general tips in reference to proper battery handling, storage and charging. Always refer to the owner's manual for specific usage guidelines. RBRC is the authority in rechargeable battery RECYCLING and provide these tips as a public service.

Frequently Asked Questions:

QWhat happens to the recycled batteries after I drop them off at a participating retail store?
ARetailers collect your spent battery packs and ship them to the recycling facility for processing. The reclaimed materials can be used in new products - such as new batteries and stainless steel products.


QWhich rechargeable batteries can be recycled?
AThe following rechargeable battery chemistries can be recycled - Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead* (Pb). Look for the Battery Recycling Seal on the battery.

* weighing up to 2lbs/1kg per battery


QWhere can I recycle my used rechargeable batteries?
AAt any of the participating retailers. In the U.S.: Alltel, Batteries Plus, BellSouth Cellular, Black & Decker, Cingular Wireless, Circuit City, Home Depot, RadioShack, Remington, Sears and Orchard Supply, Target, Wal-Mart and Wireless Zone. And in Canada: Astral Photo Images, Authorized Motorola Dealers, Battery Plus, Bell Mobility, Black's Photography, Canadian Tire, Future Shop, Home Depot, Home Hardware, London Drugs, Makita Factory Service Centers, Personal Edge and Centre du Rasoir, RadioShack Canada, Revy, Telus and Zellers. Recycling used RECHARGEABLE household batteries is now possible! To find a center near you that will take them, click here! (or if you are in Canada )( Which types do they take? Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead* (Pb) rechargeable batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, camcorders and remote control toys. Use the RBRC  collection site locator, or call the consumer helpline, 1-800-8-BATTERY, to find the retail collection site nearest you.


QCan I include my batteries with other recyclable materials in my local recycling program?
ARBRC offers a recycling plan for communities to incorporate rechargeable batteries into an already established household waste collection program. Check with your local community to see if they are a part of the RBRC recycling program.


QCan I still recycle my battery if it does not have the seal on it?
AYes. As long as it's a Ni-Cd, Ni-MH, Li-ion or Pb* rechargeable battery. Most batteries will have the chemistry listed on the battery pack.

* weighing less than 2lbs/1kg per battery


QWhy should I recycle rechargeable batteries?
ABy recycling your used rechargeable batteries, you are helping to create a cleaner and safer environment, keeping harmful rechargeable battery by-products out of landfills and the solid waste stream.


QWhich products use rechargeable batteries?
ANickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead* (Pb) rechargeable batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers and camcorders.

* weighing less than 2lbs/1kg per battery


QDo you recycle car batteries?
ANo. Although car batteries "recharge" themselves, they are not the type of batteries accepted in the RBRC program.
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