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Battery recycling

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A 1-quart clear ziplock bag filled with batteries is shown with an arrow pointing to set it ton top of a glass recycling bin filled with glass.
Learn how to recycle batteries in Portland. (Never put batteries in garbage or mixed recycling.)
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Batteries, and things with batteries in them, can spark and cause fires: Never put them in garbage or mixed recycling. 

Battery recycling basics

Apartments and businesses: Batteries must be taken to drop-off sites for safe disposal. Contact Metro's recycling information center for drop-off locations, search online, or call 503-234-3000. Or ask your property manager about providing battery collection for mail-in recycling

Houses (including duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes): Follow the instructions on this page to recycle bagged batteries with your glass recycling.

Accepted batteries

Photos of batteries including AA, AAA, D, old cell phone battery, coin and button batteries, and a power drill battery. These are shown on their own as well as within a 1-quart ziplock bag.

Any battery that fits in a 1-quart, zip-sealed plastic bag, including:

  • AAA, AA, C, D, button-cell & coin, 6V, and 9V batteries 
  • Rechargeable and single-use batteries 
  • Batteries labeled Alkaline 
  • Batteries labeled Lithium, Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn) 
  • Small batteries that can be easily removed (old cell phones, cameras, etc.) 
  • Small tool batteries that fit in a sealed 1-quart bag 

NOT Accepted

A red x next to prohibited items including a cell phone, vape pen, e-cigarette, fitness band, laptop, car battery, electric toothbrush.
  • Batteries that do not fit in a 1-quart bag 
  • Vape pens, e-cigarettes 
  • Items with embedded or built-in batteries 
    • Cell phones, laptops, tablets 
    • Wireless headphones, Bluetooth speakers, fitness watches/bands, electric toothbrushes, reading lights, etc. 
    • Anything that makes noise, lights up, heats up, or moves, and does not plug into a wall, has a battery. 
    • For your safety, do not attempt to remove batteries that are not easily removed. 
  • Damaged, corroded, leaking, or bulging batteries 

Prepare batteries for curbside collection 

1. Tape (some) batteries

Three batteries labeled alkaline are shown next to office tape with a prohibited sign. Other batteries, labeled rechargeable and lithium are shown with their ends taped with clear tape.

Do NOT tape alkaline batteries. If you see the word “alkaline” on the battery, you can put it directly in a 1-quart bag.

All other batteries must be taped with clear tape. This includes batteries labeled Lithium, Li-ion, and rechargeable.

  • Tape the ends of batteries for safety. 
  • For button and coin-shaped batteries, wrap tape around the entire battery. Or sandwich multiple batteries between two layers of tape: Lay out a long piece of clear packing tape, place the button batteries on the tape—leave space between each battery so they don’t touch each other—and then place another long piece of tape on top.

Use clear tape. This allows the recycling companies to see the type of battery and recycle it safely. Clear packing tape and clear office tape both work.

Can’t tell what type of battery it is? When in doubt, tape it.

2. Bag batteries

A one quart clear ziplock bag is shown with a green checkmark, a clear ziplock sandwich bag is shown with a green checkmark, and a grocery bag is shown with a red x.

Put batteries in a 1-quart, clear, zip-sealed plastic bag. 

  • The bag must be fully sealed.
  • Bags smaller than 1 quart are allowed as long as they’re clear and zip-sealed
  • Bags larger than 1 quart are not allowed.
  • Put untaped and taped batteries together in a single bag.

3. Place in glass bin

A 1-quart clear plastic ziplock bag with batteries in it is shown with an arrow pointing to the top of a glass recycling bin filled with glass.

Set the clear, zip-sealed bag of batteries on top of the glass in your glass recycling bin.

  • Make sure the recycling truck driver can see the bag. Don't put glass on top of the bag of batteries.
  • If you don’t have any glass, put the bag of batteries into an empty glass bin and set it at the curb.

If you don’t have a bin for glass recycling, contact your garbage company to request one. If you pay for garbage service, glass recycling is included. If your glass recycling bin was stolen, your garbage company will replace it for no charge.

Safety tips

Damaged batteries must be taken to a hazardous waste facility. Never put damaged batteries in the trash or the curbside battery recycling program. A damaged battery is corroded, bulging, leaking, or has gotten very hot while charging or in use.

  1. Place damaged batteries in a small plastic bag with absorbent, nonflammable material such as kitty litter, sand, or dry rice. For extra safety, put this bag into a metal can, like an old soup can. 
  1. Take to a Household Hazardous Waste Facility for safe disposal. Call 503-234-3000 for phone assistance Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Never remove embedded or built-in batteries. Some rechargeable batteries aren’t meant to be removed. If a battery doesn’t come out easily, leave it alone and take the whole device to a drop-off facility: Call 503-234-3000, go to www.oregonmetro.gov/askmetro, or look up drop-off or pick-up recycling options.

Store batteries in a cool, dry place, away from children and pets. Small coin and button cell batteries can be deadly if swallowed.

Where to drop off other batteries

A car battery, laptop, bluetooth speaker, cell phone, electric toothbrush, vape-pen and e-cigarette are shown next to a prohibited sign in front of trash, recycling, and glass recycling bins.

Never put batteries - or things with batteries in them - in your garbage or mixed recycling. They can spark and cause fires. 

Ask Metro to find locations near you:

Here are a few drop-off options, though there may be others closer to you:

  • Metro’s hazardous waste stations can accept almost all types of batteries and things with batteries in them for free. There are two locations: Northwest Portland and Oregon City.
  • Neighborhood hazardous waste collection events: Mark your calendar for a hazardous waste drop-off event coming to your neighborhood in Spring or Fall to drop off batteries for free.
  • BatteriesPlus stores (for a fee): These stores accept all types of small household batteries. Battery recycling is charged per pound. Call ahead to ask about the current cost and if they offer free battery recycling if you buy something.

Why battery recycling matters

We know it takes time to prepare batteries for curbside collection and to drop off other batteries for safe disposal. Your effort makes a difference!

Prevent fires: Battery-caused fires in garbage trucks and waste processing facilities have increased dramatically in recent years. These fires put workers’ lives in danger and can cost millions of dollars in damage. 

To prevent fires, batteries must be collected separately from other waste, and the batteries most likely to cause fires must be taped. Learn more.

Avoid harm from toxic chemicals: Some batteries contain materials that, if not disposed of properly, can harm people, animals, and the environment.  By collecting batteries separately, we can ensure safe handling, disposal, and recycling (EPA).

Recycle batteries into new things: Batteries contain metal, plastic, and other materials that can be used to make new products like stainless steel, road asphalt, and new batteries. Lithium-ion batteries also contain cobalt and lithium, critical minerals can be captured and reused (EPA). Recycling these materials reduces the negative impacts of mining and manufacturing on our air, water, and climate. Learn more.

Thank you for taking the time to safely recycle batteries and things with batteries in them.

FAQs

Is there anything special I need to do with batteries?

Yes. Any battery not clearly marked “alkaline” must have its ends taped with clear tape.

Clear packing tape or clear office tape work. 

For the round flat batteries, often called button or coin batteries, wrap tape around the entire battery. Or sandwich multiple batteries between two layers of tape: Lay out a long piece of clear packing tape, place the button batteries on the tape – leave space between each battery so they don’t touch each other – and then place another long piece of tape on top.

What if I can’t tell what type of battery it is?

When in doubt, tape the ends of the battery. 

You cannot tell whether a battery is alkaline by looking at its shape, size, or brand. The only way to tell whether a battery is alkaline, lithium, or something else is to look for labels printed on the battery. However, not all batteries are well-labeled.

Why do I have to tape some types of batteries?

To prevent fires.

The exposed metal ends of some types of batteries – like Lithium, Lithium-Ion, and rechargeable batteries – can come into contact and create a spark or generate heat. If this happens near flammable materials like paper, it could start a fire. 

By taping the exposed ends of these batteries, you’re putting a barrier between them to prevent them from sparking or generating heat.

These “more likely to spark” batteries are often lithium-based and come in many forms, including single-use batteries and rechargeable, and in AA, AAA, C, D, coin, or button batteries. They’re the most common type of battery used in laptops, cell phones, smartwatches, and other electronics. This is why electronics must be taken to drop-off locations for safe recycling.

Why don’t alkaline batteries need to be taped?

Batteries labeled alkaline don't need to be taped because they don’t risk sparking and causing a fire.

Additionally, the companies that recycle alkaline batteries do not want them taped. Removing the tape takes extra effort and time, making it harder to recycle the batteries.

However, if you aren’t sure if a battery is alkaline, we recommend taping the ends as a safety precaution.

Other questions?

Submit your question or give us a call or email.