Once upon a time, replacing the batteries in your remote or portable radio was as simple as grabbing a couple of double-As from the battery drawer and chucking the old ones in the trash. But these days, there are a lot more types of batteries out there to power a vast array of electronics—and safe disposal requires much more diligence. Here’s how to protect yourself, your neighbors, the environment, and your friendly Apex truck drivers too!
Non-rechargeable alkaline batteries can still be placed in the garbage. These are the types of batteries you might remember from old Energizer Bunny commercials, like the familiar AAA, AA, D, and C varieties. But throwing out other kinds of batteries is a major health hazard—especially lithium batteries!
You’ll find lithium batteries all over the place—laptops, cameras, electric toothbrushes, smartphones—but one place they must never be found is in a trash truck. When they’re crushed in the truck’s compactor, they can ignite and start a dangerous fire. That’s a huge safety hazard for our drivers, as well as for you and your neighbors.
Lithium batteries are also packed with harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment if they wind up in the landfill, damaging the health of Lane County’s beautiful natural habitats.
Lithium batteries come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, many look just like alkaline batteries, including button/coin style and cylindrical-shaped types with same AAA, AA, C and D designations. It can be confusing! Here’s how to tell the difference:
Look for a label. Many batteries are clearly marked with words like Lithium, Lithium-Ion, Li-Ion, LiPo, or Rechargeable. Any battery labeled like that cannot go in the trash!
Look for a code. If there’s no label, look for a code on the battery; it will begin with two or three letters, followed by some numbers. Those letters at the beginning are the key: lithium battery codes begin with CR or LIR (while alkaline battery codes begin with LR).
If you’re unsure whether a battery is alkaline or lithium, err on the side of caution and keep it out of your trash cart.
So how do you get rid of those dangerous lithium batteries? Good news: safe, free disposal is easy and convenient. Just drop them off at a Lane County transfer station—there are 15 locations to choose from. You can also dispose of many other non-alkaline batteries while you’re there, including rechargeables, ni-Cad, silver oxide, and car batteries.
And if you need to get rid of the electronics those batteries were in (or old plug-in electronics, for that matter), bring them along! Nine of Lane County’s transfer stations accept TVs, computers, laptops, printers, monitors, and tablets for free recycling. Find all the locations at Oregon E-Cycles.
Remember, whenever a battery-powered gizmo goes dead, what’s inside can be deadly for people, pets, and the planet. Join us in keeping our communities clean, green, and safe with proper battery disposal.
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