Battery Recycling Rules Have Changed

MIDDLESEX COUNTY – The county’s rules for recycling batteries have changed with the new year.

Stricter federal manufacturing regulations have caused household battery makers to reduced the amounts of mercury included in their products. Alkaline (non-rechargeable) batteries no longer qualify as hazardous waste under federal and state standards, so they should be disposed of with the regular trash according to the Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management.


Rechargeable batteries, including the ones found in cordless power tools, wireless phones, laptop computers and digital cameras, should still be recycled. Most button cell batteries, frequently found in hearing aids, digital thermometers, insulin pumps, watches, toys and calculators, still contain mercury and should also be recycled.

Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at participating retail locations including: Radio Shack, Best Buy, Staples, Target, Office Max, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, Wal-Mart and Verizon Wireless.  To find a retail collection site, use the collection site locator at or call the consumer helpline, 1-877-2-RECYCLE.

Residents can also bring rechargeable and button cell batteries to the Middlesex County household battery drop-off locations and to the county’s household hazardous waste collection events. Log on to for a list of drop-off locations and household hazardous waste collection events.

Both rechargeable and button cell batteries must be properly prepared before drop off as new federal regulations have been enacted to prevent short circuiting of batteries during transport. Residents must individually bag each battery or tape each terminal end prior to recycling.

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