How to Safely Dispose of an Old Laptop Battery

Learn how to safely dispose of an old laptop battery with these helpful tips from an expert. Find out how to recycle lithium-ion batteries and more.

How to Safely Dispose of an Old Laptop Battery

When it comes to disposing of an old laptop battery, it is important to take the necessary precautions. Improper disposal of a lead-acid battery, such as those found in cars, trucks, motorcycles and other high-power equipment, is illegal in Texas. Therefore, lithium-ion batteries, or those contained in electronic devices, should be recycled in certified battery electronics recyclers that accept batteries instead of throwing them in the trash or municipal recycling bins. The best way to dispose of a laptop battery is to remove it from the laptop and place it in a resealable disposable container, such as a plastic bag.

Some laptop manufacturers also have computer parts return programs; otherwise, you can leave used laptop batteries at stores like Battery World. If your company or organization is looking for ways to responsibly dispose of laptop batteries and other electronic waste, Ecocycle can help with customized recycling programs. The most common types of batteries used in laptop computers today are lithium-ion rechargeable batteries; however, older laptop computers may use nickel-cadmium or nickel-cadmium metal hydride batteries. Things like high temperatures and leaving your laptop unused for long periods of time can reduce battery life.

The contents of a laptop battery will react chemically when exposed to air, generating heat and could catch fire. Laptops and their batteries can be recycled like most other types of modern electronic and electrical waste (electronic waste). But that doesn't mean you should throw your laptop batteries in the usual recycling bin at home or at work. Some laptop batteries contain toxic materials, such as cadmium, that can contaminate land and waterways when sent to landfills.

By recycling waste from laptop batteries, several metals and materials are recovered, such as steel, cobalt, nickel and plastics, which are used in new products. A laptop battery can become a fire hazard if it is stored on a shelf and forgotten, and it becomes a danger to the environment if not properly disposed of. Most laptop batteries are made of lithium-ion and are classified as “rechargeable batteries”, meaning that you can connect the device to which they are connected many times to recharge them. The manufacturer will likely offer the option to replace the battery while keeping the laptop, but will charge a fee for performing that service.

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