Rechargeable Battery Recycling
Rechargeable batteries contain toxic metals that can be released into the environment when improperly disposed. The NYS Rechargeable Battery Law (Law), Article 27, Title 18 of the Environmental Conservation Law, was signed into law on December 10, 2010, and makes it illegal for any person to throw rechargeable batteries in the trash. The Law requires manufacturers of covered rechargeable batteries who sell in or into NYS to fund the collection and recycling of rechargeable batteries. Retailers that sell rechargeable batteries OR rechargeable battery containing products must accept used rechargeable batteries from NYS consumers.
Rechargeable Battery Types Covered by the Law
Any and all such rechargeable batteries, including, but not limited to:
- Sealed lead
- Lithium ion
- Nickel metal hydride
- Any other dry cell battery capable of being recharged
- Battery packs containing any of the above-mentioned batteries
The law does not cover: any of the above-mentioned batteries/packs weighing 25 pounds or more; batteries used as the principal power source for a vehicle, such as an automobile, boat, truck, tractor, golf cart or wheelchair; batteries for storage of electricity generated by an alternative power source, such as solar or wind-driven generators; batteries for backup that is an integral component of an electronic device; or any non-rechargeable, single-use batteries such as common alkaline batteries.
It is illegal to throw used rechargeable batteries into the trash. Fortunately, any retailer that sells covered rechargeable batteries or rechargeable battery containing products must accept used rechargeable batteries from NYS consumers for recycling. Make sure to check for and remove rechargeable batteries contained in products prior to the disposal of such products. Examples of products that often contain rechargeable batteries include: personal care devices, toys, digital cameras, cell phones, laptops, tablets, eReaders, wireless speakers and other devices, portable power tools and more.
Consumers may find drop-off locations near them by visiting Call2Recycle (leaves DEC website). In addition, some municipalities may offer permitted household hazardous waste (HHW) collection facilities or registered HHW collection events that accept batteries for recycling from residents and conditionally exempt small quantity generators. Check with your municipality to see what options are available to you.
For additional assistance, or to report a non-compliant retailer, please contact the Product Stewardship & Waste Reduction Section at [email protected] or (518) 402-8706.
Under the Law, manufacturers of covered rechargeable batteries or groups of collaborating manufacturers are responsible for financing the collection and recycling of all rechargeable batteries collected by retailers, as well as providing outreach and education to NYS consumers regarding the proper way to recycle rechargeable batteries.
Prior to selling rechargeable batteries in or into the state, manufacturers are required to submit a plan to the Department, that identifies the methods by which battery manufacturers will safely collect, transport, and recycle rechargeable batteries collected by retailers at the expense of the battery manufacturer.
Plans may be submitted to:
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Materials Management
Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling
Product Stewardship & Waste Reduction Section
625 Broadway, 9th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-7253
Manufacturers must also provide retailers with information on the safe handling and storage of rechargeable batteries.
Manufacturers or groups of collaborating manufacturers must submit an annual report to the Department detailing the amount of rechargeable batteries received and recycled within the state, the costs of such efforts, and any other relevant information as required by the department.
For more information for manufacturers, please review Section 27-1807.2 of the Law.
Retailers that offer for sale covered rechargeable batteries or products containing covered rechargeable batteries to a NYS consumer, are required to:
- Accept during normal business hours, up to 10 batteries per day from any person regardless of whether such person purchases replacement batteries or accept as many such batteries as a consumer purchases from the retailer.
- Post at or near the point of entry to the business, a sign, not less than 8.5 x 11 inches, with a 1 inch letter height, stating: "It is illegal to dispose of rechargeable batteries in the state of New York as solid waste. We accept used rechargeable batteries for return to the manufacturer."
- Conspicuously maintain, at a location within the retail establishment that is convenient for use by consumers, collection boxes or other suitable receptacles, supplied by the manufacturer, into which consumers may safely deposit used rechargeable batteries.
Retailers that sell covered rechargeable batteries or products containing covered rechargeable batteries to consumers in the state through non-retail outlets (e.g., catalogs, mail, telephone, internet, etc.) shall provide at the time of purchase or delivery to the consumer notice of an opportunity to return used rechargeable batteries at no cost to the consumer for reuse or recycling. Example language for conspicuous use by online retailers:
- For retailers WITHOUT physical locations in New York: It is against the law in New York to dispose of rechargeable batteries in the garbage. Protect people, property, and the environment by recycling your used rechargeable batteries at a participating drop-off location (leaves DEC website).
- For retailers WITH physical locations in New York: It is against the law in New York to dispose of rechargeable batteries in the garbage. Protect people, property, and the environment by recycling your used rechargeable batteries at any [insert retailer name] New York store or at a participating drop-off location (leaves DEC website).
Most manufacturers have joined Call2Recycle to implement their collection programs. A retailer can connect directly with Call2Recycle (leaves DEC website) to become a collection partner or by contacting (877) 723-1297. Call2Recycle will provide the retailer with collection receptacles and regularly collect them for recycling, at no cost to the retailer.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has within its authority the right to inspect retailers of rechargeable batteries or rechargeable battery containing products for compliance with the Law. An example retail inspection form is provided here (177KB PDF) for your information.
For more information for retailers, please review Section 27-1807.1 of the Law.