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How to Recycle Single Use Batteries

How to Recycle Single Use Batteries

Single use batteries used to power many household items - TV controllers, torches, radios, calculators and smoke alarms, are not all the same

 AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries should never ever be thrown in the trash. While many of them are Alkaline batteries made of steel and a mix of zinc, manganese, potassium, graphite, paper and plastic, there are many different kinds of batteries and it's simply safest to recycle them all.

Broadly, dependent upon the usage situation, batteries can contain heavy metals as well, but the round up includes lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Cadmium (Ca), Manganese (Mn), lithium (Li) and potassium (P).

These metals make batteries both unsuitable for disposal in the garbage as well as the vessel holding a useful resource that is readily recycled - and in some cases offering more metal ppm than the original mining process that extracted them. This image shows the metals rescued by Australian battery recycler, Envirostream

Disposal of batteries into landfill contaminates the local environment. As a battery casing corrodes, its metals and chemicals leach into the soil and make their way into our water supply and our oceans. Pretty much every metal and chemical in a battery is toxic.

It's easy to recycle batteries and Battery recycling programs and initiatives are available at places like Officeworks, Aldi, Battery World and Ikea.

Simply collect your used batteries in a box or container in the kitchen or living area. Once the box is fill, take it to your nearest recycling location.

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Recycle Editor

Hi Aleah
The recycle bin is usually at the front of the store before you pass through the checkouts or go into the store. It is a cylinder shape. Once you have spotted it, you will always 'see' it! Thanks for asking. Monday, 15 June 2015

Aleah S

Where is the recycle bin at Aldi? I have never seen one. Maybe they don't all have them. Monday, 15 June 2015
Science Notes
Single use batteries are typically referred to as alkaline (non-acid) and work by the reaction between the zinc (Zn) anode and the manganese dioxide (MnO2) cathode. The name ‘alkaline’ comes from the electrolyte potassium hydroxide which is consumed as the battery is discharged. 

Related Tip

Single use batteries are cheaper to purchase up front than rechargeable batteries which makes them a tempting alternative.

Amortised over time however, they are much more expensive –over 5 years, more than 600% more expensive.