Why you can’t always throw AA batteries in the trash

There is no shortage of conflicting messages about what to do with dead alkaline batteries, which include AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volts. Governments and battery makers do not have consistent, clear policies in place to phase out the alkaline batteries that power many of our small electrical devices such as remote controls, flashlights, watches, and toys. It even varies depending on where you live.

Typical alkaline batteries such as AA batteries include steel, zinc, manganese, potassium and graphite, according to Energizer, which sells alkaline batteries. Energy is generated when zinc and manganese react.

Manganese is an essential nutrient, but at high levels it can cause adverse health effects. The ex-manganese miners have suffer Permanent neurological damage. With any battery, there is a risk of chemicals leaking into the soil, surface water and groundwater. Contaminated water and crops can lead to diseases such as cancer. But alkaline batteries are not particularly toxic compared to other types of batteries.
The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that in most communities batteries can be safely put in the trash. but that recommend Send your alkaline batteries such as AAs to a battery recycling machine. This does not necessarily mean that you can throw the batteries in the regular recycling bin.
A big exception to this is California, which classifies batteries as hazardous waste. the state Says They are dangerous due to the metals and toxic and corrosive substances contained in batteries. Residents are required to take AA batteries and all batteries to hazardous waste disposal facilities. No other country also classifies batteries as hazardous waste. But some local governments advocate recycling AA batteries and have programs to do so.
The says District of Columbia Residents must hand over AA batteries for recycling at a designated location, but not at their own. recycling bins. Seattle residents encourage To take their AA batteries to hazardous waste facilities.

The city warns that “throwing a handful of batteries in the trash may not seem like a big deal, it adds: About 180,000 tons of batteries are disposed of in the United States each year.”

Other places like Chicago refused To take alkaline batteries into recycling facilities.
Major urban areas within two hours of each other can have dramatically different policies. AustinTexas warns not to throw batteries in trash or roadside trash containers. HoustonD., Texas, says it’s okay to put batteries in the trash. Some retailers like Home Depot It says you can throw alkaline batteries in the regular trash.
Many places that require AA batteries to be put in the trash say it’s reasonable because they no longer contain mercury 1996 Law. (It was Mercury previously in batteries to help prevent corrosion.) Act 1996 also Drove to create call 2 recyclinga non-profit organization originally created by battery manufacturers, that provides consumers with battery recycling options.

What to do with batteries is not necessarily more clear if you check with the manufacturers. Duracell encourages customers to check local and state regulations, as well as check recycling options.

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Amazon sells AA batteries under its merchandise line that include an icon for a bowl with a large X over it that looks like it could be a trash or recycling bin.

The crossed out symbol indicates that the product should be disposed of separately from household waste and typical recycling bins, according to Amazon spokesperson Betsy Harden.

Harden added that Amazon recommends following local and EPA regulations.

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