Recycling Lithium-ion Batteries: How to Dispose Your Lithium-ion Batteries
Updated September 2018
Of the many types of rechargeable batteries, lithium-ion batteries are the most popular because they provide more energy than other types of rechargeable batteries. They also hold their charge much better than older battery types, like nickel-metal hydride. Because of their convenience and charging power, it looks like lithium rechargeable batteries are here to stay!
So how are you supposed to dispose lithium-ion batteries once you’re done with them?
Can I Throw Away Lithium-ion Batteries?
While you can throw single use, non-rechargeable batteries in the trash, keep lithium-ion batteries out. These batteries contain toxic materials that are hazardous to our health and the environment if left in a landfill. When you want to dispose your lithium-ion batteries, you need to take them to a trusted recycling center.
Can Lithium-ion Batteries be Recycled?
Yes, but not in your regular blue recycling bin. The contents of lithium-ion batteries are less toxic than most other battery types, which makes them easier to recycle. But, lithium is a highly reactive element. These batteries have a flammable electrolyte and pressurized contents that could lead them bursting into flames.
It’s especially risky when lithium-ion batteries end up in the back of a dry recycling truck surrounded by paper and cardboard. Pressure or heat, especially during the summer, could cause them to spark, starting a fire. In fact, lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common fire starters in recycling trucks!
How to Recycle Batteries?
The best way to recycle lithium-ion batteries is to take your old cell phones, tablets, and computers to a recycling center. They’ll know how to recycle batteries of all shapes and sizes while doing what’s right for the environment.
Stop by GreenCitizen’s Burlingame EcoCenter for your electronics recycling in San Francisco. We can recycle all rechargeable battery types for free. For businesses, we offer a hassle-free pickup program for unwanted electronics.
For the rest of the United States, visit Call2Recycle to find battery recycling drop-off centers near you.
If you want more information on lithium-ion battery recycling, give us a call at (650) 493-8700. We thank you for doing your part for the environment!
James Kao is the founder/CEO of GreenCitizen, which provides products and services that help make every day Earth Day. He’s passionate about data and sustainability, with a deep background in launching, funding, and managing successful tech companies. James enjoys spending quality time with his family, hiking, traveling, watching well-made documentaries, and eating good healthy food. read more »