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Proper battery disposal awareness this holiday season

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Posted at 12:14 PM, Dec 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-17 15:15:01-05

If you are planning on gifting or giving any electronics or battery-operated gadgets this holiday season, Santa Barbara County Public Works wants to remind you of proper battery disposal.

Batteries contain hazardous metals and corrosive materials that pose serious fire, health, and safety threats when improperly discarded. Batteries are considered hazardous waste in California and should never be placed in a trash or recycling bin.

in Santa Barbara County, waste management and MarBorg customers can recycle standard single-use or rechargeable household batteries curbside. Just tape the ends of the rechargeable batteries, bag them in a clear plastic bag, and place them on top of your recycling bin on collection days. They will be collected separately from your recyclables.

Businesses and residents can also drop batteries off at several collection sites countywide.

Though not accepted in your regular blue bin, batteries are nearly 100% recyclable. They can be recycled into new batteries or recovered as base materials for roads and bridges. Recycling batteries is essential because it reduces the need to mine for new materials, ensures proper disposal, and reduces fire risk.

Batteries can spark when tossed around in recycling trucks or waste bins or accidentally heated, crushed, punctured, or mishandled. Battery fires happen almost weekly at local solid waste facilities. These fires spread quickly because they are surrounded by flammable trash and recyclables. Battery fires damage equipment put staff in danger and could lead to a wildfire.

Devices with batteries that cannot be removed should be disposed of as e-waste except for e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes or other types of smoking devices are hazardous and require special handling. They include a battery, nicotine or cannabis, and electronic components. These can not only spark but also contaminate the work environment for recycling workers and can risk their health. Never place these in the trash or recycling bin. E-cigarettes must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.

Learn more about battery recycling and collection locations by visiting www.LessisMore.org/batteries or calling (805) 882-3602.