The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a non-profit public service organization, targets four kinds of rechargeable batteries for recycling: nickel-cadmium (Ni-CD), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion, and small-sealed lead. Its Call2Recycle! program offers various recycling plans for communities, retailers, businesses, and public agencies. They have an Internet directory, searchable by ZIP code, for consumers to find recycling locations for dry-cell batteries and cell phones.
Lead-Acid Automobile Batteries
Today over 95 percent of all lead-acid batteries are sent off to be recycled. As required by most state laws, retailers that sell lead-acid batteries collect used batteries for recycling. Important to note, a typical lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic.
Non-Automotive Lead-Based Batteries
Gel cells and sealed lead-acid batteries are commonly used to power industrial equipment, emergency lighting, and alarm systems. An automotive store or a local waste agency may accept the batteries for recycling.
Dry-cell batteries include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button or coin cell, some cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide and zinc-air (button or coin cell), and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable).
Alkaline and Zinc-Carbon Batteries
Alkaline batteries, the everyday household batteries used in flashlights, remote controls, and other appliances are currently legal to dispose of in the regular garbage in every state, aside from California. California passed a series of laws called the California Universal Waste Rules that require these batteries to be recycled. Several reclamation companies now process these batteries.
Button-Cell or Coin-Cell Batteries
Most small, round “button-cell” type batteries found in items such as watches and hearing aids contain mercury, silver, cadmium, lithium, or other heavy metals as their main component. Button cells are increasingly targeted for recycling because of the value of recoverable materials, their small size, and their easy handling relative to other battery types.