Smart Disposal/Recycling of Camera and Cell Phone Batteries

Recycle or Throw Away Old Camera and Cell Phone Batteries?

camera batteries and other electronics batteries for recycling

Have you given much thought to what environmental impact old camera batteries (and other batteries) may have if you just throw them away? I really hadn’t until I began doing some research on Earth Day — and I was surprised at what I learned. Let me share with you what I discovered about Lithium, Alkaline, Button Cell and Rechargeable battery disposal and recycling from the Energizer, Duracell, EPA and the Call2Recycle Web sites. Includes an easy locator to find a recycling site near you.

Lithium Primary (non-rechargeable) Batteries. These are not regulated by the U.S. federal government as hazardous waste. They may be disposed of through a municipal solid waste (garbage) program. However, due to the chemicals in lithium batteries, Duracell does recommend recycling them. Recycle: YES

Alkaline Batteries. Mercury-free alkaline batteries have been available since the early ’90s and thus do not have to be recycled. Today’s alkaline batteries do not pose an environmental threat and may be thrown in the garbage. Warning from Duracell: Do not dispose of large amounts of alkaline batteries in a group. Used batteries are often not completely “dead” and grouping them together can bring these “live” batteries into contact with one another, creating safety risks. Also, Duracell cautions against disposing of batteries in fire because they could explode. Recycle: No

Button Cell Batteries.

  • Lithium Button Cell Batteries do not contain mercury and do not need to be recycled. They can be disposed of through a municipal garbage program. Recycle: No
  • Alkaline Manganese and Silver Oxide Button Cell Batteries do contain trace amounts of mercury — up to 25 milligrams. Depending on the size of the battery, these may require special disposal handling. Check with state and local environmental officials for a recycling or disposal solution. Recycle: YES

Rechargeable Batteries.

  • Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries contain the heavy metal cadmium and are regulated as hazardous waste. Recycling programs are available through many communities. Recycle: YES
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Zinc Air and Lithium ion (Li-on) Batteries do contain chemicals and recycling is highly recommended. Many municipalities have a collection/recycling program in place through the household hazardous waste collection program.  Recycle: YES

YES: Where to Recycle Rechargeable Batteries

Information about recycling programs for rechargeable batteries can be found at or by calling 800-8-BATTERY. Just enter your zipcode and the site gives you all the retailers (like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Radio Shack, hardware stores, etc.) that offer official battery recycling receptacles — this is a free service and the retail participants help sponsor
Call2Recycle -- Battery Recycling Flowchart

YES: Buy only Eco-Friendly Photo Processing and Photo Gifts

Visit to order environmentally friendly photo prints and photo gifts such as calendars, photo greeting cards, playing cards and posters. Find out what Lifephoto does to deliver great quality, yet eco-friendly photo products.

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