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How to dispose of batteries and more

Here's what to do with those hard-to-recycle items like electronics and light bulbs.

Close up of AA batteries

Stop and think before you throw those old electronics, batteries and lightbulbs in the trash. Recycling is a better option. (Plus, it's illegal to leave them on the curb in some states.)

Most electronic waste and batteries contain toxic heavy metals that can seep into soil and water. Recycling these products not only keeps heavy metals out of the soil and water, but also helps reuse materials that require energy to mine and manufacture.

In general, you can recycle old electronics, batteries and lightbulbs at hazardous waste facilities, county recycling centers or community hazardous waste collections. See below for more specific guidelines for each item.

Electronics Disposal: Make sure to erase any personal data. If the electronics work, consider donating them. If they aren't reusable, search for a certified recycling location in your area. The results may include:

  • Electronics retailers with take-back or trade-in programs
  • TV or electronics repair shops
  • Electronics recycling companies
  • Manufacturer recycling programs
  • Charitable organizations

Battery Disposal: Recycle any rechargeable, lithium, lithium ion and zinc air batteries instead of tossing them. Here's how to dispose of batteries:

Lightbulb Disposal: Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) contain small amounts of mercury, so handle them with care — especially any broken bulbs. You should be able to recycle mercury-containing bulbs through:

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