All batteries are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded. This includes batteries of all sizes from AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9 Volt, and more, both rechargeable and single-use. Battery recyclers melt down spent rechargeable and household batteries in a high-temperature process, then reclaim materials such as nickel, iron, lead, cobalt, and cadmium.
Is your garbage and recycling picked up by one of these companies?
If yes, then you can place your batteries in a small ziplocked bag and put the bag in or on top of the appropriate bin (check with your local waste hauler) so that it is clearly visible.
*Currently, battery recycling services are mainly provided to single-family homes. Some apartment buildings and condominiums may also have this service available as well. Check with your waste hauler.
At Your Door Service Has Been Discontinued
If you live in Atherton Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, or a variety of neighborhoods in the unincorporated areas of the County, you were previously eligible for the HHW Door-to-Door Pickup program, but as of January 1, 2017 that program has been discontinued. The San Mateo County government did not administer this program but is helping to spread the word about the transition.
Read more about the HHW Door-to-Door Pickup program transition here:
- ”AT YOUR DOOR” HHW program ending on 12/31/2016
- Postcard Announcement: Final pickup must be scheduled by December 15, 2016
Household Hazardous Waste material can continue to be taken to the San Mateo County HHW collection facility or a temporary collection event.
Drop Where You Shop
Some businesses that sell single-use batteries will take them back from their customers. Since this service is voluntary, participating stores do change. To check for locations near you, visit www.Recycleworks.org and use the Recycling Search function at the bottom left of their homepage. (It doesn’t hurt to call the business and double-check, as well)
Use the County’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program
Have you cleaned out your house recently and have a large load of HHW ready? Make an appointment online and drop off your batteries along with everything else.
Reduce Your Battery Waste – Use Rechargeables!
You can save thousands of single-use batteries just by switching a few out for the rechargeable variety. Rechargeable batteries cost a little more to buy, but last so long they quickly save you money.
Learn more about buying and using rechargeables with this fact sheet (pdf).
Good news! In California, almost all stores that sell rechargeables must take them back, when you do finally wear them out. Visit Call2Recycle to learn more about store take-backs.
Find information on how to recycle other household hazardous wastes.