Battery Recycling Drop-off Locations in Nashville
(car batteries, rechargeable batteries)
Click here to view a list of battery recycling drop-off locations in Nashville.
How to Dispose of Non-Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries
Currently, there are no recyclers for alkaline batteries – the type of batteries most of us use in remote controls and other household applications. Before legislation was passed in 1996, these batteries contained mercury. According to TDEC, “Alkaline batteries sold after May 13, 1996, have no mercury added and may be discarded in the regular trash.”
Lithium in batteries is highly flammable and is, in many cases, under pressure. Both lithium and cadmium can be hazardous if improperly handled, but cadmium specifically is poisonous. For this reason, do not keep old batteries for too long before disposing of them. They can (and often do) rupture and began leaking corrosive materials which can burn the skin (even through bags) and cause lasting health effects after coming into contact with the body. If you accidentally touch a leaking battery of any kind (even if the material seems dry to the touch), immediately flush the area with water.
Hazardous Waste Disposal
If you have Davidson County tags, you can use the various Residential Waste and Recycling Facilities. There are three RWRF location around the Nashville area, but it you are looking specifically to recycle batteries use the East Center Facility:
943A Doctor Richard G. Adams Drive
Nashville, TN 37207
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 7:30am-5:00pm and Sun. Noon-4:00pm
If you are not a Davidson County resident, TDEC also has a Mobile Household Hazardous Waste unit that works with other counties to set up hazardous waste collection events at no charge to the individual. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conversation has many programs to prevent improper disposal of hazardous waste such as batteries. If you are have more questions regarding you can contact TDEC at the following:
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
Nashville, TN 37243
(888) 891-TDEC (8332)
Why Recycle Batteries?
Mining and producing the materials used to manufacture batteries requires a vast amount of energy and can be destructive to the environment. Like recycling aluminum cans, recycling batteries simply helps prevent the need to manufacture batteries using ‘new’ raw materials.
Louis Bordenave, Manager of the Problem Waste Section of TDEC, says lithium is a fairly uncommon element, and it saves a tremendous amount of energy to recycle a lithium battery versus mining new lithium ore to convert to metal. Other materials used for rechargeable batteries mentioned by Bordenave include nickel and cadmium.
The effects of improper battery disposal depends on the type. According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), “The average home in Tennessee produces 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year.”
Cost of Rechargeable Batteries Versus Disposable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries cost a little bit more than disposables, but they last much longer. Once you invest in household AA, they quickly pay for themselves countless times over, and you’ll enjoy always being able to recharge the batteries and have them available when you need them.
In most cases, the break even point on rechargeable batteries occurs the first time the battery needs recharging, because this would have been the point at which you throw away a disposable.
Recycling Good for Economy
Recycling can help contribute to Tennessee’s state economy. According to the Southeast Recycling Development Council, general recycling is responsible for creating 6,500 jobs and generates $4.3 billion dollars in sales.
Batteries are classified as “Hazardous Household Waste” because they are classified as corrosive, violently reactive, or poisonous to humans and animals.
Battery Recycling Safety
Though consumers may think their batteries are “dead”, they may still have voltage that can start a fire. The intense pressure these batteries are under is so great, they often have to be transported separately.
Robert Wadley, S.C. is a member of the Environmental Specialist Division of Solid Waste Management branch of TDEC. He notes that proper battery storage depends on the battery types and brand. As a general rule, Wadley says batteries are pretty safe in their containers as long as the terminals, positive and negative ends, do not touch. He also recommends not keeping hazardous materials in your house longer than necessary. That seems like an obvious point, but it is easy to forget about the container of used batteries quietly piling up in the junk drawer. The University of California Santa Cruz recommends keeping used batteries no longer than a month. It is best, however, to recycle them immediately to prevent fire hazard and exposure to chemicals. If you have batteries that are damaged or start to leak, UCSC suggests taking these steps:
- These batteries should be containerized securely and labeled as “leaking batteries” preferably in double ziplock or plastic bags appropriate for their size and weight.
- Do not mix the broken batteries with intact cartridges, since the entire batch will be contaminated with corrosive waste and require additional vendor labor to process properly for shipping and disposal.
- Avoid touching the corrosion with your bare skin. If any material makes contact with your skin, wash it immediately with water.