Car Battery Disposal Instructions

Proper car battery disposal isn't just a good idea, it's the law in many communities. You probably already know it's not okay to toss your car battery into the trash, where it may wind up leaking in a landfill and contaminating groundwater with toxic chemicals. If you're tempted to dispose of your car battery in an improper way, remind yourself that the typical car battery is made up about 21 pounds of lead and a gallon of sulfuric acid. It's a little plastic package of very dangerous chemicals, and it's your responsibility to make sure those chemicals don't harm anyone.

Don Your Safety Gear
Make sure you put on safety goggles, thick work gloves and long sleeves. Battery acid can be terribly painful and harmful if it gets on your skin or in your eyes.

Extinguish All Flames
Don't smoke around old batteries. Gases from a leaky battery can explode. Remove lighters, matches and other sources of flame, and remove the battery in an area that's free of fuels and flammable chemicals.

Disconnect the Battery
Carefully remove the car battery from its mounting bracket and place it inside a sturdy plastic bag. Watch out for leaking battery acid; keep the battery far from your clothing, face and skin. Clean up any battery acid that leaks by flushing the area thoroughly with water.

Recycle the Car Battery
You can do the environment a favor and recycle your car battery in a variety of ways:

  • Bring it to a junkyard. Call first to make sure the junkyard recycles batteries.
  • Call AAA. Ask AAA to come diagnose, replace and recycle your car battery for you.
  • Drop it off at the auto parts store when you buy the new battery.
  • Drop it off at a service station that recycles batteries. Call first to find out which service stations near you provide this service.
  • Dispose of your car battery at a special waste drop off site. You'll have to call your local Department of Sanitation or Public Works Department to find out when and where to drop off batteries. Most communities have battery collection days at least once a year.

Ask About Disposal Charges
When you make calls to find out where you can dispose of your car battery, ask about charges. Some places may charge more than others. Some may not charge you anything at all. As a rule, auto retailers and service centers will charge you to recycle the battery. Some auto parts dealers may offer free recycling if you buy a new battery, or give you a discount on the recycling fee. Recycling in your community is usually free, but call to see if there are any charges.

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