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How to properly dispose of old batteries
Published Friday, August 2, 2019 11:58AM PDT Last Updated Friday, August 2, 2019 7:33PM PDT
From the TV remote control to your electric toothbrush, batteries are used to power our day to day lives.
But it isn’t always clear what to do with those batteries when they die. So what should you do when your batteries run out of juice?
“Ideally you shouldn’t toss them into the garbage,” said James Dickerson, Consumer Reports chief science officer.
British Columbia became the first province in 2010 to require the recycling of hazardous waste, including both rechargeable and single-use batteries.
Because whether it’s your standard alkaline AA battery, a rechargeable cellphone battery, or the battery from your car, you should treat it with care by using safe storage and disposal methods.
Why? Most batteries contain toxic chemicals like cadmium, lead, lithium or sulfuric acid.
“Batteries can leak; get into the ecosystem and into the groundwater. So you really are concerned about that,” said Dickerson.
Old batteries might not be able to power a device, but it’s important to remember they could still spark a fire if they’re not handled safely.
Experts say that should store them in a secure container that keeps them lined up side-by-side, so the contact points can’t touch each other or brush up against anything that’s metallic or conductive.
Dickerson also recommends placing “a little piece of tape on both the positive and negative ends. That makes sure that you don’t end up having short circuits or any other type of current coming from the batteries.”
Another useful tip is to keep the packaging and container that the batteries originally came in, and use that to store them once they die.
Many businesses have battery recycling programs and stores like Best Buy, Lowe’s, Staples and London Drugs will accept rechargeable batteries. Your car battery can be recycled at locations including Kal-Tire and Canadian Tire.
Lead-acid car batteries can also be recycled through a program operated by the Canadian Battery Association (CBA). The batteries can be dropped off at a CBA recycling depot, and you can find a location at the Recycle My Batteries website.
Call 2 Recycle is the official no-cost government-approved stewardship program in B.C., and the program has prevented more than three million kilograms of batteries from entering the waste stream since 2010.
Approximately 96 per cent of BC residents live within 15 kilometers of a Call 2 Recycle drop off sit, and you can visit their website to find a recycling drop off location near you.