• Where to Drop Off Batteries in Hoboken + Jersey City

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    If you’ve ever wondered or questioned where to drop off batteries in Hoboken and Jersey City {because you shouldn’t be throwing them out}, you’ve asked a great question. After all, batteries contain chemicals, hazardous materials, and waste — all toxic to the environment. By simply throwing batteries in the regular household trash, you’re exposing the environment and others to some potentially dangerous hazards. For an answer to that question, keep reading to find out where to drop off batteries in Hoboken + Jersey City. 

    batteries

    The household trash is designed for common waste and food waste {but don’t forget about local composting options found here}. When batteries are thrown in the mix, the people who handle the garbage, work at the landfills, and work in water supply become exposed.

    Sure, there’s some debate about whether or not it’s safe to dispose of regular alkaline batteries in the trash. Quartz reports that it’s totally fine, as most batteries aren’t made with mercury anymore like they were until the early-to-mid 1990s. {We can thank the 1996 Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act for the “phasing out” of mercury in our batteries; though some batteries can still contain trace contaminants of mercury today}. Aside from “special” batteries like car, watch, and rechargeable batteries, battery companies like Duracell and Energizer maintain that throwing away alkaline batteries is totally safe. Even the City website says alkaline batteries may be disposed in the household garbage.

    See More: Recycling in Hoboken + Tips on Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

    But remember: Not everyone agrees batteries should just be chucked out. The Environmental Health + Safety department at UC Santa Cruz maintains that all batteries should be properly recycled rather than discarded in household trash. Residential Waste Systems also concurs, citing a few of the toxic wastes that batteries are still made with today. Especially if your batteries aren’t alkaline, you’re going to want to recycle them properly. Despite the debate on alkaline batteries, lead-acid batteries are not supposed to be thrown in the household garbage under any circumstance. Instead, they must be recycled.

    These include {but are not limited to} cadmium, lithium, lead, mercury, manganese, and potassium. Because of these toxic substances, batteries require a unique recycling process in order to be disposed of correctly.

    recycling

    According to Residential Waste Systems, batteries go to a hammer mill, where they are smashed. Here, the liquid toxins leak out and those metals are swept away and disposed of separately from the rest of the battery. The toxins go into containment, which separate themselves, thanks to gravity. Then, each individual toxin is disposed of in an environmentally way, based on the chemical and toxin that it is. In landfills, batteries do not require this kind of recycling attention. That’s why it’s important to dispose of batteries correctly.

    Read More: Hoboken Plastic Bag Ban: Everything You Need to Know

    So, now that you know all the reasons you shouldn’t throw a battery in the trash, what’s the correct way to dispose of them?

    Spots for Disposal

    First, you could drop batteries off at a battery bank. Battery banks exist in high traffic areas of our communities and you might be surprised to find out which of our local stores take your old batteries: Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, and the Hoboken Recycling Center.

    The recycling drop-off center at Willow Avenue and Observer Highway is open from 9:00AM to 4:00PM Monday through Friday and 9:00AM to 12:00PM on Saturdays; it takes lead-acid batteries, as well as many other items that can’t be discarded in the traditional trash.

    Use a Battery Bag

    Another option is using a battery bag. Instead of throwing batteries loose into the garbage, put them in a marked zip lock bag. Mark it so that whoever handles the bag knows what kind of batteries are inside. If the batteries are in a plastic bag, they are much easier to find, handle, and therefore care for properly than if they were thrown in the trash loose.

    How do you dispose of batteries in your household? Let us know in the comments!

    Have you joined our Facebook group yet? Request here to gain access to even more local tips, and connect with fellow Hudson County residents.


    Written by:

    Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer who specializes in sustainability and health and wellness content. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton.