CCDES is a member of the Illinois Recycling Contamination Task Force, a group that addresses pressing recycling issues throughout the state. To answer specific recycling questions, the task force has launched the Dirty Dozen Campaign.

It is estimated that over 3 billion batteries were sold last year according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Batteries help power our lives, but we do not always know what to do with them when it is time to dispose of them. Whether you are disposing of alkaline, lithium, rechargeable, or the many other types of batteries we can find in our homes and garages they should never be placed in curbside recycling.

How to dispose of different types of batteries

Alkaline batteries are non-hazardous and may be disposed of in the trash.

Single-use lithium-ion batteries look very similar to alkaline batteries, so confirm the type of battery for safe disposal. Many of the Cook County municipal household hazardous waste programs will accept lithium-ion batteries for recycling, so first check out your local municipality’s website for information on how to recycle these batteries correctly.

Rechargeable batteries are also accepted in many municipality household hazardous waste programs for recycling.  Always call first to verify that your local municipality’s household hazardous waste program or favorite retailer will accept batteries for recycling.

Lead-acid batteries are accepted for recycling at many specialty battery auto parts retailers.

To find a recycling location for batteries (single use & rechargeable), click here. For more information about general recycling, click here.

Why should batteries be recycled right?

Old lithium-ion batteries may spark a fire if handled incorrectly. When finished with a lithium-ion battery, tape over the battery tops to prevent the contact points from touching each other or other metallic items. Place the old batteries in a clear container, like a resealable plastic bag. It is important not to place these batteries in curbside recycling carts as recycling facilities and truck fires have been reported due to batteries becoming damaged by the sorting or heavy equipment crushing the batteries. To help prevent battery fires and enhance workers safety, Governor Pritzker signed into law HB2296 which prohibits residents and businesses from placing rechargeable or lead acid batteries into recycling carts beginning January 1, 2020. 

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