Rechargeable Battery Management Strategy

Rechargeable Battery Facts

  • Rechargeable batteries contain toxic materials that include lead, nickel, cadmium, and mercury and are harmful to the environment
  • Rechargeable batteries should be recycled or disposed of properly
  • The Rechargeable Battery Reference Guide shows typical equipment and electronic devices that use rechargeable batteries
  • The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation* (RBRC) offers Call2Recycle for free disposal of cell phones and rechargeable batteries and cell phones for businesses and individuals. Businesses can support battery recycling by sponsoring* a dropoff box for free.
  • More recycling information can be found on the Community Resources and Links page.

Conducting a Workplace Assessment for Rechargeable Battery Management

  • The safe storage and management of rechargeable batteries is important to minimize the risk of contamination in your workplace
  • Survey how many items your business uses that require rechargeable batteries--if you have an equipment change-out planned, include that in your estimate
  • The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC)* provides some very good advice and guidelines to ensure the safe storage and management of batteries at the workplace;
  • RBRC also offers battery and cell phone collection, and provides an opportunity for a business to be a collection site, free of charge.  
  • Explore other recycling options and resources available for businesses and responsible recycling
  • Educate your maintenance and technical staff about how to implement the management strategy--inform them of the importance of recovering all batteries
  • Coordinate storage, packaging, and shipping logistics with appropriate staff (building engineers, information technology or audio-visual specialists, maintenance workers, custodial staff, etc.)
  • Kick-off the management program with an informational meeting with participants to recruit their support
  • Periodically review the program to evaluate its effectiveness and to make improvements

Safe Storage and Handling of Batteries

This and other information on safe storage and handling of batteries can be seen in the Know Toxics Universal Waste & Used Electronics Training Manual, pages 9-10.

Information on specific US Department of Transportation battery transport requirements from the 2009 Battery Safety and Compliance Advisory Letter*

A handler of universal waste batteries must manage them in a way that prevents releases to the environment. Handlers of universal waste batteries must ensure that the casing of each individual batteries_tape_.JPGbattery cell is not breached (cells may be opened to remove electrolyte). If a battery cell or casing is breached, it must be managed as hazardous waste.

Containers of universal waste batteries must be properly labeled, structurally sound, and compatible with the contents of the stored material. It is recommended to add the date to the label since handlers of universal waste can only store material on-site for up to one year.

It is highly recommended that battery terminals be insulated to avoid electrical discharge during storage and transportation. This must be done using non-electrical duct tape, as metallic duct tape can easy cause reaction or fire.

*External link. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission does not author third party sites and their reference is for educational purposes only.


Batteries covered in tape