To Recycle, or Not to Recycle?

Batteries - various

Click for guide: Rechargeable Batteries: If it’s Rechargeable, It’s Recyclable

Since adopting the New Jersey Dry Cell Battery Management Act in 1991 and the Federal Mercury Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act in 1996, household battery manufacturers have begun manufacturing alkaline batteries with no added Mercury and have reduced the amount of Mercury added to other batteries. See below for information about major battery brands.

Alkaline batteries now fall below Federal and State hazardous waste standards and can be disposed of in the regular trash.

Button cell (hearing aid or watch) batteries are still household hazardous waste.

The only types of batteries in the US today that contain mercury are button cell batteries and mercuric oxide batteries. Read more: Safe disposal information.

Battery Identification 101 (PDF) – from The Corporation for Battery Recycling

Check out the Essex County Homeowners’ Guide to Proper Household Battery Management

Reminder:  If it’s rechargeable, it’s recyclable!  

Rechargeable batteries are considered “Household Hazardous Waste.”  Rechargeable batteries are recyclable. Some stores will accept rechargeable batteries for recycling; check with your local Best Buy, Staples, Target, Office Max, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, Wal-Mart and Verizon Wireless or bring them to Livingston’s Electronics Recycling Events.

Essex County accepts them at Household Hazardous Waste collection events. Residents can visit their website at:

Note: Safe Disposal of AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt Batteries

When disposing of AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt batteries, always tape over the terminals with masking, duct, or electrical tape to prevent a fire. Read more.

Brand-Specific Information

From the early 1990s on, alkaline batteries have no mercury in them. More precise information is available at

The Chinese characters on the battery — 无汞 — mean no mercury.

Duracell_no mercury

These batteries have 10-year shelf life, which means a battery with an expiration date of 2006 was manufactured in 1996. In 1996, mercury-free alkaline batteries became the national standard for most types of batteries (button cell batteries and mercuric oxide batteries excluded).

Other battery manufacturers might have shorter shelf life. The Corporation for Battery Recycling recommends using a shelf life of 5-7 years.