Sorted Batteries

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If you're bringing batteries to the Recycling area, please leave them at the Recycling check-in desk. We have marked containers on shelves just below where you get gloves. If you are not sure what type of battery you have, please leave it in the container marked ??, or ask a staff person.

Rechargeable Batteries

Free Geek currently sends most* rechargeable batteries to RBRC/Call2Recycle (Call2Recycle) at no cost. Batteries sent to RBRC must be individually bagged (in plastic), or have their terminals taped with electrical tape, and sent in RBRC-provided shipping containers. RBRC reclaims metals from the batteries. According to their website, none of the materials sent to RBRC end up in landfills.

Most rechargeable batteries are labeled, but RBRC will also accept unlabeled rechargeable batteries from items such as electric toothbrushes and shavers. The batteries do not need to be removed from these small appliances.

  • RBRC accepts :
    • Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
    • Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
    • Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn)
    • Lithium Ion (Li-ion)

Please follow the EPA required shipping instructions included in each box.

  • *Rechargeable batteries from UPS's are sent to Batteries NW. These are rechargeable sealed lead-acid batteries.

Rechargeable batteries could also be sent to Metro, but we have to pay fees for this service. However, this could be useful when small rechargeable batteries pile up and we don't have time to individually bag them for RBRC.

Non-Rechargeable Batteries

We currently pay Metro to take our sorted non-rechargeable batteries. Besides the procedure listed on this page, we have to follow specific instructions before we drop off non-rechargeable batteries at Metro. Refer to PDX Recycling Vendors for details on how to do this.

Non-rechargeable batteries must be sorted before we drop them off at the Metro Hazardous Waste Site. This should happen regularly, since batteries accumulate fast, and it can be a daunting task to sort multiple buckets of these little buggers.

Please wear gloves to protect yourself from the possibility of leaking battery acid.

How To Identify Different Non-Rechargeable Battery Types

  • Type: Alkaline
    • Identification: Alkaline, Mercury Free or 0% Mercury, Dry
  • Type: Lithium
    • Identification: Lithium
  • Type: Button cells
    • Identification: little round batteries off of motherboards. Separate plastic ringed button cells from other button cells.
  • Type: Lead Acid
    • Identification: PB/Lead label with a recycle symbol, rectangular, heavy for their size

How To Package Batteries For Shipping

  • Type: Alkaline
    • can be placed in buckets, no taping or bagging required
  • Type: Lithium (not button cells, not Lithium-Ion)
    • bag batteries in provided small plastic bags, multiple batteries of same size per bag, but terminals may NOT touch, or batteries be loose enough inside bag to move during transport. Alternatively, securely tape terminals with electrical tape, and place in bucket.
    • "Soda Can" type from Macs, etc still need to be taped.
    • "Dallas" and other Real Time Clock batteries need to be taped. These are the rectangular ones, the size of a tall IC chip.
    • Other lithium batteries (wrapped in larger plastic housing w/ wires, etc) need to be wrapped.
  • Type: Lithium - Button Cell
    • Only certain button cells contain lithium. These are the ones that need to be taped. Coin cells the size of a nickel are generally lithium based. They're marked "CR."
    • use shrink wrap or tape to cover terminals, resulting roll has to fit in to buckets
  • Type: Other Button Cells
    • Many button cells do not contain lithium and don't need to be taped.
  • Type: Lead Acid
    • place in plastic crate, terminals may NOT touch