Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

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knightrider
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Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by knightrider » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:33 am

I am fairly sure regular and alkaline AA/AAA batteries can safely disposed of in the trash. However, they all have pictures of a trash bin with a big X on it, implying they can't be thrown away. Any idea why that is? I tried googling it but could not find anything..

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Nicolas
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Nicolas » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:57 am

Last edited by Nicolas on Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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AlohaJoe
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:58 am

It may be against state or local laws to throw them away. For instance, it is illegal to throw them away in California.

livesoft
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by livesoft » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:12 am

I think it is mostly because people do not know what kind of batteries they have or don't want to know or don't want to educate themselves or want to feel good about their other hazardous wastes or want to feel good about recycling.

So the easiest and safest choice is to save all batteries that one wants to get rid of in a plastic jar and occasionally dispose of them via a battery disposal program.

For myself, I have bought only rechargeable batteries except for those little quarter-size ones (CR2032 size), so my battery waste has gone way way down. All my AAA and AA batteries are Eneloops and I haven't bought any in several years even though I recharge some about twice a week that I use for riding my bike in the dark.
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miamivice
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by miamivice » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:14 am

knightrider wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:33 am
I am fairly sure regular and alkaline AA/AAA batteries can safely disposed of in the trash. However, they all have pictures of a trash bin with a big X on it, implying they can't be thrown away. Any idea why that is? I tried googling it but could not find anything..
I believe that the trash can with the X on it is a European Union marking scheme, not a United States marking scheme. It would mean that the batteries contain chemicals or metals that in the EU are supposed to be recycled rather than trashed.

You are correct that in the United States, standard alkaline batteries can be thrown away in normal trash disposal processes. As noted above though some states have more stringent disposal requirements and might require recycling.

---

EDIT: A Google search confirms above. The waste can with a red X is called a "WEEE mark", which stands for waste electrical and electronic equipment. The usage of the marking is required by the European Union and directs the user what to do with the item after it has completed it's useful life. So in the European Union, alkaline batteries should not be thrown in the trash.

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Watty
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:38 am

Part of the background is that non-rechargeable batteries used to have mercury in them until about ten(?) years ago and back then it was very important to not throw them in the trash so that the mercury did not get into the landfill.

I am not sure of how toxic alkaline batteries are now but in addition to the chemicals they are also a fire hazard since they can still have enough of a charge to start a fire in the trash if they short out when a bunch of them are thrown in the trash at the same time. This might be more likely with the square 9 volt batteries.

Rechargeable batteries are so much better now that I use them for almost everything except for a few things like wall clocks. The Eneloop batteries I use last a lot longer between recharges than alkaline batteries so that is another plus for them and I would highly recommend them especially if you can find them on sale.

It is still important to recycle other types of batteries because of the chemicals they contain.

https://www.consumerreports.org/recycli ... batteries/

It is also easier to just tell people to recycle all batteries so there is less confusion about which batteries to recycle so that might also be part of it.

FYI, the mercury was used to help stabilize the batteries and keep them from leaking and now that they are made differently having a battery get corroded and leak happens more often like they did years ago when I was a kid. If you have had a battery leak recently this might be why.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:44 am

My condo association has a special bin in our recycling / garbage room for alkaline batteries. It’s never been explained if this is a requirement in our location or not.

I used to go through LOTS of AAA batteries with my Bose QC25, but since upgrading to the QC35, I’ve trashed basically none.

SeekingAPlan
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by SeekingAPlan » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:59 am

There used to be a bin for collecting used household batteries at our public library. The bin has been removed and a sign was posted instructing us to dispose of the batteries in our regular trash.

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Nicolas
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Nicolas » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:19 am

If you don’t want to throw them away in your trash (I don’t) I think Best Buy takes them, according to their website: https://corporate.bestbuy.com/10556-2

My local Best Buy has bins in the entryway for deposit of electronics for recycling. I’m going to bag mine up and throw them in there. I have three years worth accumulated.

I called another recycler and they want $1.70 per lb. for alkaline and $1.80 per lb. for zinc-oxide (button batteries). But if Best Buy takes them for free then that’s where they’re going.
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bhsince87
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by bhsince87 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:49 am

I just looked at three different packages of alkaline batteries, and none of them have that marking on them.
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Nicolas
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Nicolas » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:50 am

Just in case anyone is doing this, car batteries shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. They each have 20 lbs. of lead in them as well as the acid which will eventually be leached into our groundwater. Not only that but the lead is valuable and can be reused for other purposes, like new batteries.

In fact it’s illegal in my state. My state requires battery vendors to accept used batteries. It’s enforced by adding a $10 charge to the sale of the new battery which is recovered when you bring in the old one.

When replacing automotive batteries I always bring the old one with me to exchange on the same trip.
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j0nnyg1984
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:31 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:50 am
Just in case anyone is doing this, car batteries shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. They each have 20 lbs. of lead in them as well as the acid which will eventually be leached into our groundwater. Not only that but the lead is valuable and can be reused for other purposes, like new batteries.

In fact it’s illegal in my state. My state requires battery vendors to accept used batteries. It’s enforced by adding a $10 charge to the sale of the new battery which is recovered when you bring in the old one.

When replacing automotive batteries I always bring the old one with me to exchange on the same trip.
Are there actually people who don’t know this?

Every auto / truck battery I’ve purchased in my life has had a hefty core charge.

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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by prudent » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:36 pm

j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:31 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:50 am
Just in case anyone is doing this, car batteries shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. They each have 20 lbs. of lead in them as well as the acid which will eventually be leached into our groundwater. Not only that but the lead is valuable and can be reused for other purposes, like new batteries.

In fact it’s illegal in my state. My state requires battery vendors to accept used batteries. It’s enforced by adding a $10 charge to the sale of the new battery which is recovered when you bring in the old one.

When replacing automotive batteries I always bring the old one with me to exchange on the same trip.
Are there actually people who don’t know this?

Every auto / truck battery I’ve purchased in my life has had a hefty core charge.
It was probably in response to a now-deleted post from someone who said he throws car batteries in the trash. To spare him the embarrassment and ridicule, he'll remain nameless.

chevca
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by chevca » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:43 pm

But, it was a he then? We can narrow that down. :happy

02nz
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by 02nz » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:11 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:19 am
If you don’t want to throw them away in your trash (I don’t) I think Best Buy takes them, according to their website: https://corporate.bestbuy.com/10556-2

My local Best Buy has bins in the entryway for deposit of electronics for recycling. I’m going to bag mine up and throw them in there. I have three years worth accumulated.

I called another recycler and they want $1.70 per lb. for alkaline and $1.80 per lb. for zinc-oxide (button batteries). But if Best Buy takes them for free then that’s where they’re going.
Best Buy only accepts recharageable, not single-use alkaline batteries for recycling: "Best Buy does not accept alkaline batteries for disposal. Customers should call 1-800-RECYCLING or visit www.1800recycling.com to find alkaline battery recycling centers in their neighborhoods." https://www.bestbuy.com/site/recycling/ ... 4700050009

This is standard. I've never seen alkaline battery recycling in the U.S., although the quoted FAQ suggests it exists.

More broadly: When it doubt it's actually better to throw stuff in the trash, rather than contaminate the recycling, which is a big problem. (That's not the same attitude as the deleted post, which was shameful.)

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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by fposte » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:27 pm

There are drop off boxes for alkaline battery recycling in my town, so they do exist.

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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by SchruteB&B » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:36 pm

bhsince87 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:49 am
I just looked at three different packages of alkaline batteries, and none of them have that marking on them.
I have multiple packages of Duracell and Energizer brand alkaline batteries and none of them have that marking on them.

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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by nisiprius » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:46 pm

The purpose of the symbol is to enable you to tell which batteries can be thrown out in the regular trash, and which shouldn't be. They do not all have the symbol.
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by JoMoney » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:51 pm

All of the batteries I've seen recently have the 'no trash' logo on them.
I'm currently residing in California. It's against the law to dispose of "household batteries" in the trash here.
https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/HomeHazWaste/Info/

I have a small box in a drawer i throw old batteries into... then when I get around to it, I occasionally smuggle them into work and dump them into the battery disposal bucket they have there. I have no idea where they're disposing of them, or where to take them if I couldn't take them to work. When I tried to find a convenient place to drop them off I couldn't find anything that was free...
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AerialP
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by AerialP » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:00 pm

Batteries + Bulbs, a national chain in the U.S., recycles batteries of all kinds.

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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:41 pm

prudent wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:36 pm
j0nnyg1984 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:31 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:50 am
Just in case anyone is doing this, car batteries shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. They each have 20 lbs. of lead in them as well as the acid which will eventually be leached into our groundwater. Not only that but the lead is valuable and can be reused for other purposes, like new batteries.

In fact it’s illegal in my state. My state requires battery vendors to accept used batteries. It’s enforced by adding a $10 charge to the sale of the new battery which is recovered when you bring in the old one.

When replacing automotive batteries I always bring the old one with me to exchange on the same trip.
Are there actually people who don’t know this?

Every auto / truck battery I’ve purchased in my life has had a hefty core charge.
It was probably in response to a now-deleted post from someone who said he throws car batteries in the trash. To spare him the embarrassment and ridicule, he'll remain nameless.
Arg, ghost posts. I wish I was around that dumpster, that’s good money!

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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Trader Joe » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:54 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:33 am
I am fairly sure regular and alkaline AA/AAA batteries can safely disposed of in the trash. However, they all have pictures of a trash bin with a big X on it, implying they can't be thrown away. Any idea why that is? I tried googling it but could not find anything..
I am looking at my AA and AAA batteries right now and there is no picture on them. When depleted I toss them in the trash with everything else.

chemocean
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by chemocean » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:15 pm

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkaline_battery
the hazardous materials in alkaline batteries are zinc and manganese.

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celia
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by celia » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:01 pm

I, too, live in California. We are not supposed to throw batteries in the trash or in the recycling barrel. They are supposed to be collected and taken to the recycling centers that also accept electronic waste (and fluorescent light bulbs). Home Depot and Lowes also take bulbs and batteries. Around here, the recycling center is at the store entrance.

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Nicolas
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Nicolas » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:24 pm

celia wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:01 pm
I, too, live in California. We are not supposed to throw batteries in the trash or in the recycling barrel. They are supposed to be collected and taken to the recycling centers that also accept electronic waste (and fluorescent light bulbs). Home Depot and Lowes also take bulbs and batteries. Around here, the recycling center is at the store entrance.
Thanks. Where I am the Home Depot recycling bins specify only rechargeable batteries, but I can ask.
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Nicolas
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Nicolas » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:28 pm

02nz wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:11 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:19 am
If you don’t want to throw them away in your trash (I don’t) I think Best Buy takes them, according to their website: https://corporate.bestbuy.com/10556-2

My local Best Buy has bins in the entryway for deposit of electronics for recycling. I’m going to bag mine up and throw them in there. I have three years worth accumulated.

I called another recycler and they want $1.70 per lb. for alkaline and $1.80 per lb. for zinc-oxide (button batteries). But if Best Buy takes them for free then that’s where they’re going.
Best Buy only accepts recharageable, not single-use alkaline batteries for recycling: "Best Buy does not accept alkaline batteries for disposal. Customers should call 1-800-RECYCLING or visit www.1800recycling.com to find alkaline battery recycling centers in their neighborhoods." https://www.bestbuy.com/site/recycling/ ... 4700050009

This is standard. I've never seen alkaline battery recycling in the U.S., although the quoted FAQ suggests it exists.

More broadly: When it doubt it's actually better to throw stuff in the trash, rather than contaminate the recycling, which is a big problem. (That's not the same attitude as the deleted post, which was shameful.)
That’s too bad, thanks. I was afraid of that. I don’t want to trash them nor do I want to spend $1.70/lb. to recycle them, as I was quoted today by a local recycler. I’m going to check out Batteries + Bulbs per a post above. I have two of these stores in my local area.
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Nicolas
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by Nicolas » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:29 am

AerialP wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:00 pm
Batteries + Bulbs, a national chain in the U.S., recycles batteries of all kinds.
My B+B store wants $1.85 per lb. to recycle alkaline, but watch-type batteries they take for free.
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02nz
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Re: Why household batteries have picture of no trash disposal on them?

Post by 02nz » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:33 am

livesoft wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:12 am
For myself, I have bought only rechargeable batteries except for those little quarter-size ones (CR2032 size), so my battery waste has gone way way down. All my AAA and AA batteries are Eneloops and I haven't bought any in several years even though I recharge some about twice a week that I use for riding my bike in the dark.
+1 on the Eneloops. Do buy the branded ones, as the AmazonBasics rechargeables have apparently switched to an inferior version.

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