It is important that two different types of your used household batteries be treated differently while they are being stored in your home prior taking somewhere in Blacksburg for recycling, because all battery types contain toxic materials, and some of these batteries are more dangerous than others and need to be isolated.


Alkaline BatteriesHOW TO IDENTIFY THEM – Good quality alkaline batteries will have the word “alkaline” printed somewhere on the battery.  It may be in very small print or another language, but the word in Spanish, French, or German looks very similar to the English word.  Some non-rechargeable batteries will NOT have the word “alkaline” printed on the battery, however, they may contain these words — “0% or no cadmium (Cd), or 0% or no mercury (Hg)”, or these words may be used —  “Cd or Hg has not been added”, or “may explode or leak if recharged”, or they may simply say “do not recharge”.  These statements all indicate that these are alkaline batteries.

HOW TO PREPARE THEM FOR RECYCLINGThe terminals of alkaline batteries DO NOT NEED TO BE TAPED!  This complies with a 2009 ruling from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  All untaped, alkaline batteries can be safely stored together in your home before taking them to be recycled.  PLEASE DO NOT STORE THEM FOR LONGER THAN ONE YEAR, because they will begin to deteriorate  and leak.  If you already have some that contain a white powder or funky looking liquid, PLEASE SEAL THEM IN A ZIP-TOP PLASTIC BAG and wash your hands, then place the bag in with your other used household batteries to be recycled!


Energizer_reghargeble_batteryHOW TO IDENTIFY THEM – Good quality rechargeable batteries will have the word “Rechargeable” printed somewhere on the battery.  Often the chemical name of the components will be printed there too, such as “Cadmium” (Cd), or “Mercury” (Hg), or “Lithium” (Li).  [These chemicals are toxins and carcinogens, so it is important that they be kept out of our landfills.]  An example of one type of rechargeable battery is shown in the photo on the right.  You can see that this battery  is clearly labeled as rechargeable.

HOW TO PREPARE THEMPKG Recycleaboe Batteries FOR RECYCLING – As soon as your rechargeable batteries are no longer useable, or you no longer wish to use them, SEAL EACH ONE SEPARATELY IN A SMALL PLASTIC BAG, then set them aside for later transport to one of the battery-recycling boxes whose locations are shown above.   Bags with a “Zip-Lock” closure are ideal for this purpose.  Tape the terminals of large rechargeable batteries, such as those used for power tools (see photo).

Button BatteriesButton Batteries are usually NOT rechargeable, but they do contain the some of the same toxic metals found in rechargeable batteries.  They are shaped like a “disk”, and they are often used in hearing aids, watches, and older cameras.  THEY DO NOT NEED TO BE SEPARATELY BAGGED OR HAVE THEIR TERMINALS TAPED!  The Staff at MRSWA says that your BUTTON BATTERIES MAY BE PLACED TOGETHER IN ONE CLEAR, SEALED, PLASTIC BAG, and added to your home container containing your batteries ready for recycling.


Once they have been properly prepared, used batteries may be taken to any one of the following places in Blacksburg:

▪               Colley Architects – 620 North Main

▪               Community Arts Information Office (CAIO) – 149 College Avenue

▪               Eats Natural Foods – 708A North Main Street

▪               Fringe Benefit – 117 North Main Street

▪               Heavener Hardware & Lumber – 801 Kabrich Street

▪               Wireless Zone – 304 North Main Street

  •            Warm Hearth Village – Karr Activity Center or the Carson Library

▪               YMCA Center – 1000 North Main Street

Recycle Box 02All locations listed above, except the YMCA Center, have boxes – like that look like the one on the left – for depositing a combination of three things: used non-recycleable (alkaline) batteries, CFLs, and used printer cartridges.  The YMCA has two unlabeled, black plastic boxes for for you to place both your alkaline and non-alkaline batteries ONLY!  Do NOT use the YMCA boxes for deposit of CFLs and printer cartridges!


Volunteers from Sustainable Blacksburg periodically collect these bins, sort the battery types, and transfer the sorted batteries to the YMCA.  Batteries are placed into an enclosed trailer at the YMCA, which are then periodically transferred by the Town of Blacksburg (TOB) to the Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority (MRSWA).  The TOB pays a fee to MRSWA for transporting these batteries to a regional facility in Johnson City, TN.


Vehicle dealers and automotive stores, that sell batteries for these vehicles, will recycle your old battery when you purchase a new one.  The Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority (MRSWA) will recycle these batteries for a 35-cent per pound fee.