Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Universal Waste for Residents – Batteries

What are common batteries?

Common batteries include AA, AAA, C cells, D cells, NiCads (and other rechargeables) and button batteries (e.g., camera and hearing aid batteries). These contain a corrosive chemical that can cause burns as well as toxic heavy metals like cadmium. (Automotive type batteries are not universal waste. When they become waste, they are regulated under different regulations.)

Where should I take my old batteries?

Many local government agencies and retailers run programs that accept old batteries and send them on for recycling.  For information on local collection programs, contact your municipal waste service provider or check the list of Household Hazardous Waste Program web links.

You can also check the Earth 911 website for a battery collection program near you.

How should I store my old batteries until I can take them to a recycling center?

Store your old batteries in a safe, dry place and out of the reach of children. For an extra measure of safety, place masking tape or some other seal over the terminals (battery ends).

Are retailers required to accept used batteries from consumers for recycling?

Retailers of rechargeable batteries sold to consumers must accept and collect used rechargeable batteries for reuse, recycling or proper disposal. Although retailers are not required to take back any other kind of universal waste batteries, many voluntarily take back alkaline and other universal waste batteries.  Check with your local retailer.

What legislation requires retailers to accept rechargeable batteries?

California Assembly Bill (AB) 1125. Specifically, Public Resource Code (PRC), section 42453.

How is California Doing with Recycling Rechargeable Batteries?

For Additional Questions, Contact the Regulatory Assistance Office

Toll-Free in CA: 800-728-6942 or 800 72-TOXIC
Outside CA: 916-324-2439