From cell phones to laptops, power tools, and electric vehicles, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are becoming increasingly prevalent in our lives. By 2025, it’s estimated that the global lithium battery market will surpass $100 billion.
While rechargeable lithium batteries are recyclable, care must be taken to do so properly. Batteries of any kind should never be placed in curbside recycling containers, as they have led to fires breaking out and, in some cases, destroying recycling facilities. These batteries burn at extremely high temperatures, making them dangerous to people and property. Fortunately, there are several safe and convenient ways to recycle them safely.
One way is to bring them to locations that participate in a targeted battery recycling program, like Home Depot, Lowes, and Staples. Countrywide, most retailers with battery drop-off stations receive their containers from Call2Recycle, a nonprofit organization. New Jersey counties recently teamed up with Call2Recycle to produce a statewide battery awareness campaign geared towards its residents. The Avoid the Spark NJ campaign has its own website where residents can find convenient drop off locations and learn more about proper battery safety and identification (see links at the bottom of this article).
Another option is to bring them to a municipal electronics recycling location. Many towns accept rechargeable lithium batteries free of charge if they are attached to an electronic device or power tool, like laptops, cell phones, and cordless drills. Oftentimes, numerous Camden County municipalities sponsor year-round electronics recycling collection programs. Contact your local public works department to find out your municipality’s electronic waste recycling guidelines.
A third option is to bring batteries attached to electronic devices to a state-permitted electronic waste recycling facility, such as Magnum Computer Recycling in Pennsauken (856) 333-0991 or Tab Shredding Inc. in Berlin (856) 768-4402. Tab Shredding does charge a fee and advises scheduling an appointment before dropping off.
Lastly, residents can bring all rechargeable batteries and single-use lithium batteries to any of the county’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection events. Please note that only loose batteries are accepted at these events- electronic devices are not accepted. See page 8 for the 2022 collection events schedule.
Camden County Commissioner and liaison to the Division of Environmental Affairs, Jefferey Nash, expressed the importance of proper recycling. “With the proliferation of lithium batteries in our society, it is imperative they are handled responsibly and safely. The consequences of not disposing of these items in the proper way can create undue risks to our community and undermine the health and welfare of our residents. The Board of Commissioners encourages all residents to use one of the many convenient in-county recycling locations for these and all rechargeable batteries.”