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Battery Disposal

Updated: Jun. 30, 2017

Tape the ends to prevent contact

Battery reFamily Handyman
Failsafe ways to dispose of old batteries. Tape exposed contacts to prevent discharge or recycle them.

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Taping old batteries

Cover the ends of used batteries with electrical tape before throwing them in the trash.

If you’re concerned that old batteries tossed out in the same disposal container could spark and cause a fire, don’t fret. Even fully charged household batteries, like AA or 9-volt, shouldn’t create a spark, even if the ends touch. However, it is possible for batteries to short out, heat up and, under the right circumstances (although extremely rare), cause a fire. To ensure this doesn’t happen, tape your old batteries together side by side, then tape the ends as shown.

We encourage battery recycling whenever possible. Contact your local solid waste center for recycling household batteries. For portable rechargeable batteries and old cell phones, contact the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. ( The RBRC Web site lists drop-off sites for recycling the batteries commonly found in cordless power tools, laptop computers and digital cameras.