Recycle batteries with your weekly recycling collection

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It’s common to have spent batteries stashed in a drawer with the intention take them to a recycling drop-off someday. That someday can now be your weekly recycling collection day! All collection in unincorporated Clackamas County is happening now. 

To recycle batteries simply tape the terminal ends of your rechargeable and button batteries first and put all acceptable batteries (see list below) in a 1-quart sealed plastic bag and place it in your glass recycling bin. Your garbage hauler will collect the bags and sell the batteries to a recycling company. Recycled batteries can become products like rubber, paint or ceramics. The metal from old batteries can become everyday household products like silverware, pots and pans, nails and new batteries. 

Know what batteries to include

The following batteries can be recycled in the curbside program:

  • Alkaline batteries such as AAAAs, AAAs, AAs, C, D (don't need ends taped), and 6-volt, 9-volt (need ends taped)
  • Lithium ion and button batteries used in watches and cameras (need ends taped)
  • Rechargeable batteries (need ends taped) and batteries packs used in laptops and cellphones 

The following batteries are not accepted in the curbside program:

  • Lead acid batteries: Take to a battery shop or a hazardous waste facility
  • Electric bike batteries: Take to a hazardous waste facility

Don’t be a “wishful recycler”

Separating batteries reduces the risk of sparking a fire in a collection truck or at a transfer station as batteries rub against other batteries, metals or flammable materials. Although batteries have not been on the list of items that can be recycled, some people have placed them in recycling carts in hopes the material could be recycled, or thinking that batteries are made of metal and many items on the recycling list are metal. This practice is called “wishful recycling”. 

While the intention is to recycle more, the result of “wishful recycling” makes recycling programs cost more and makes materials sent to recycling companies worth less. 

Materials placed in the recycling cart not meant to be recycled is called contamination. Recycling companies want the purest material possible to send to manufacturers to make new products. Contamination causes issues in their processes. It’s important to recycle only what is on the list so our collective effort is successful. Review our recycle guide to make sure you are only recycling items in your weekly collection that manufacturers will actually use.

Safety tips

  • Batteries should be placed in a cool, dry area away from potential heat sources, flammable materials, and metals. 
  • Damaged batteries should be placed immediately in an absorbent, nonflammable material such as kitty litter or sand. If the materials start to smoke or combust, call 911. 
  • Keep batteries away from children. Batteries can be toxic if swallowed or exposed.  
  • Never remove embedded or built-in rechargeable batteries. Some rechargeable batteries are not designed or intended to be removed. Contact Metro’s Recycling Information Center at 503- 234-3000 or use Find a Recycler tool for disposal options.
     

Have a question about other materials? 

Find a Recycler: Look up easy options to recycle, donate or reuse anything from batteries and packing peanuts to that old dishwasher.

Metro Recycling Information Center: Call for your garbage and recycling questions at 503-234-3000.

Instagram: Check the posts and direct message pictures of questionable items to @recycleornot on Instagram.

Play the game: Test your recycling knowledge with this interactive game.