How to dispose of your dead batteries the right way

People rely on batteries to power everything from their remote control to their toothbrush, but it isn't always clear what to do with those batteries when they die.

Consumer Reports offers a handy guide to help you do right by the environment and the law.

In some places, it's illegal to throw batteries in the trash. So, whether it's your standard alkaline AA battery, a rechargeable cell phone battery, or the battery from your car, you should treat it with care by using safe storage and disposal methods.

In Texas, lead acid battery disposal in mixed municipal solid waste is prohibited.

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Why can't you throw it away? Most batteries contain toxic ingredients like cadmium, lead, lithium or sulfuric acid.

"Batteries can leak, get into the ecosystem and into the groundwater. So you really are concerned about that," said James Dickerson, Consumer Reports Chief Science Officer.

While old batteries may not generate enough energy to power a device, they could still spark a fire if they're not handled carefully.

Store them in a secure container that keeps them lined up side-by-side, so the contact points can't touch each other or brush up against anything that's metallic or conductive.

"You can put a little piece of tape on both the positive and negative ends. That makes sure that you don't end up having short circuits or any other type of current coming from the batteries," said Dickerson.

Many businesses have battery recycling programs and stores like Best Buy, Lowe's, and Staples will take certain kinds of batteries as well.

You can see where to drop off batteries in Houston here.
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