Do you have a pile of used household batteries hidden in your junk drawer or in a coffee can in the garage? You know you should be environmentally responsible and recycle them, but you aren’t sure where to start. So the pile grows larger. But did you also know that extra precautions are required when storing and recycling them? Some batteries retain a residual charge even after they can no longer properly power a device.
These batteries may appear dead but they can be a safety risk because their power has not been completely used up. Some batteries can combust or spark, causing a fire or other safety incident.
That’s why it’s important for anyone with used batteries to embrace some simple safety tips when storing them.
1. Bag each battery in its own clear plastic bag before placing it in a storage container. If a bag isn’t available, you can tape the terminals with these tape types: clear packing, non-conductive electrical and duct. Avoid masking, painter and Scotch tape; opaque bags or any wax products. Make sure the label is visible.
2. Store the batteries in a cool, dry place. Incidents can occur when batteries (or the devices they power such as a cellphone or tablet) are exposed to inclement or excessively hot weather. Store them in a plastic container; avoid metal or cardboard.
3. Keep an eye out for damaged batteries. If you see a swollen or bulging battery, immediately put it in a non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter in a cool, dry place. Do not dispose of it in the trash.
4. Drop them off within six months. Make sure they are bagged or taped before dropping them off for recycling.