Disposing of a car battery can be a head-scratching task.
You may want to dispose of it with your household waste, but a car battery needs to be disposed of properly.
Car batteries contain toxins and other harmful metals, such as sulfuric acid and lead, which can be hazardous to the environment.
Car batteries become a problem when people dump them in landfills. This often results in soil and water degradation.
Hence, federal law (in the United States) dictates that certain types of batteries should be recycled, instead of thrown away in the trash.
Therefore, make sure that you know exactly what to do when the time comes to part with your car battery.
Read this article to know some safe and better ways of disposing of a car battery.
How to Dispose of Car Batteries
Below are some of the common ways you can use to dispose of the car battery the right way.
Return the Car Battery to the Company
One of the easiest ways to dispose of a car battery is to return it to the company you purchased it from. Such companies usually recycle old car batteries to make new ones.
You may also get a little something in return, such as a core charge, which you pay when you first buy the battery.
This core charge is usually returned to you when you turn in an old battery.
You’re doing yourself a favor by getting some quick cash while also doing a little something to save the environment.
Drop it At a Local Garage
If you’re not in proximity with the car company you originally bought the battery from, you can always look up a local garage and deposit your old car battery there.
This is a safer option than disposing of household waste or throwing it in a bin. This is because it will be handled with care under professional supervision.
A local garage will also recycle it completely or use parts of it in other cars.
Dispose of it an Authorized Treatment Facility
An authorized treatment facility (ATF) is a registered facility that deals exclusively in handling electronic waste.
Such facilities make sure that electronic waste disposal is done in a manner that minimizes environmental pollution.
ATF’s are a foolproof way to deposit your old car battery, from dissembling, depollution, recovery, and effective disposal.
You can always look up your nearest ATF online.
Deposit at Battery collection events
Your local municipal authority may have certain events for raising environmental awareness or even to promote recycling.
Such events may include a battery collection event by the American Automobile Association (AAA) or even a simple Earth Day event.
Not only this, but most places in the US hold household hazardous waste (HHW) collection events too for people to dispose of their old electronics easily.
All you need to do is stay updated with the dates of any such upcoming event.
Dispose of it a Hazardous Waste Collection Site
If you take your old car battery to any landfill site, chances are you will be turned down from depositing it in.
However, a hazardous waste collection site accepts such types of e-waste as they get rid of harmful metals such as alkaline and lead.
Usually, these waste collection sites make the item fit for further use by ensuring it’s recyclable for car retailers and battery companies.
If you can’t find any of these options for car battery disposal, then your next bet is to sell it. However, you shouldn’t sell it just to get rid of it.
There are many websites such as Peddle or United Battery (deals exclusively with car parts and old batteries) and Craigslist where you can get in touch with people interested in buying and selling car junk.
What You Should Not Do
Now let’s talk about some of the things you should not do when disposing of car batteries.
Dispose of It with Household Trash
Even though federal law (except for California) states that you can dispose of household single-use batteries such as AA, AAA, C, and D with your household trash, you are supposed to recycle old car batteries.
Do not mix it with the above-mentioned batteries, and make sure you keep it separate from all trash.
Dump It in a Landfill
Even though dumping it in a landfill is the easiest option, it is harmful to the environment, including that area’s soil and water table.
In fact, hazardous acid and other metals can seep into the water table, inviting many behavioral problems within the residents of that area who may use this water. Most vulnerable to this are children.
Important Things to Keep in Mind when Disposing Car Batteries
These disposal ways require you to handle your old car battery.
Moreover, they need to be stored and carried to these respective disposal sites unless you plan on mailing them to these places.
Even then, car batteries are potentially dangerous. You should make sure you’re carrying it to these sites in a way that’s not harmful to you, your vehicle, or even the mailing company.
Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that:
Cover the battery terminals
Battery terminals are easily corrosive. Cover them to ensure your battery is in the best possible condition.
If you plan on mailing them, you need to secure them, so they are not
Make sure the battery is stagnant
When you carry your battery in your vehicle to drive it to any disposal site, make sure you keep it sitting upright.
Your car battery should be secured so that it doesn’t flip over because the chances of battery acid leaking increase.
Eliminate Chances of a Spark
Always make sure your battery is stored in an insulator such as plastic or cardboard, so there is no chance of a spark in case it comes in contact with electricity.
Wear Protective Clothing
Whether you want to dispose of your car battery or inspect it, always make sure to wear protective gloves.
This is because battery acid can burn your skin through normal clothing.
Moreover, it is notorious for causing blindness. Make sure you also have protective eyewear on you when handling an old battery.
Check for Leaks
Your car battery may leak if you live in colder temperatures or if you have overheated it.
Before you dispose of or mail the battery, make sure to look for leaks, especially through the cells.
One way to do it is by inspecting it in broad daylight or in a place with sufficient lighting.
Read Mailing Instructions
If you plan to mail your old car battery, make sure you read mailing instructions specific to that mailing company.
You don’t want your money wasted or your car battery returned to you or even stuck in transit.
This could be potentially dangerous if it does not reach safely and in professional hands.
Wrapping it Up
Even though a car battery is a small component of a car, it is one of the most hazardous items.
However, since federal law is strict about its recycling, disposing of it has become easy in the United States.
There are many ways to do so, as stated above in the article.
Moreover, if the environment is not your prime concern, then perhaps a hefty consequence may nudge you to choose better and safer ways of disposing of your car battery.
If you don’t follow federal law, there is a good chance you may face monetary consequences.
But in all honesty, think about the tones of old cars and batteries sitting in garages and rotting away.
They are definitely putting a dent in the automobile industry as the demand for newer and better car batteries increases.
Simultaneously, this puts pressure on raw materials such as minerals and their subsequent extraction.
If you have the chance to play your part in the green economy, then begin by committing to recycling old car batteries.
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