New Transportation Regulations Hinder Battery Recycling

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Photo By moria/Courtesy Flickr
More batteries may end up in landfills after the Department of Transportation issued harsher battery shipping regulations.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued tighter regulations on the shipment of batteries that will mean bad news for battery recycling.

The DOT now requires that batteries sent to battery recycling centers be individually bagged in plastic or have both ends taped up. This means cities with battery collection programs may not have the resources to maintain their programs with the extra hassle of these regulations.

And that means more batteries back in the landfill.

These new rules also fine battery collectors that sort or ship the different types of batteries incorrectly, which could lead to groups that recycle not wanting to take on the responsibility and shutting down their programs. 

The DOT added these new regulations because of an accident last year where a truck caught on fire because of a leak from a lead acid battery. Lead acid batteries are a type of wet cell battery, while the batteries that we use every day, such as AA’s, are dry cell batteries. Before, the DOT mainly enforced harsher regulations on shipping wet cell batteries, but these new regulations include dry cell batteries too.

With these regulations in place, battery recycling may be set back for a while. Even so, some recycling centers continue to promote battery recycling. Battery Solutions, a national battery recycling service, offers kits ranging from $35 to $80 (depending on how many batteries you want to recycle) that gives users the correct materials and instruct them on how to send in their batteries. EasyPak also sells battery recycling kits.

More about batteries and battery recycling

• Batteries don’t have to end up in a landfill. Find out some alternatives to purchasing batteries.

• Researchers from Saint Louis University developed a powerful biodegradable battery. Read more about how this battery works.

• Find your nearest battery drop-off location here.