California revises battery disposal laws effective
All batteries are considered hazardous
waste in California when they are discarded. This includes all
batteries of sizes AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9 Volt, and all
other batteries, both rechargeable and single use. After February
8, 2006, all batteries in California must be recycled, or taken
to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal
waste handler (e.g., storage facility or broker), or an authorized
By July 1, 2006, retailers selling
rechargeable batteries are required by The Rechargeable Battery
Act of 2006 to take back the batteries at no cost to the consumer.
The law exempts stores that primarily sell food and retailers
with annual gross sales of less than $1 million.
Batteries are considered hazardous
because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials
contain within. Batteries are potentially a valuable source of
recyclable metal. However at this time, only rechargeable batteries
are commonly recycled by industry. Single use batteries end up
According to a report entitled,
Household Universal Waste Generation in California, August 2002,
there were 507,259,000 batteries sold in California in the year
2001. According to survey results published in the report, only
0.55% of these batteries were recycled.
Local trash companies or other
agencies are allowed to ban these items from the trash any time
before February 8, 2006. Large and small quantity handlers are
required to ship their universal waste to another handler, a universal
waste transfer station, a recycling facility, or a disposal facility.
Under the California’s Universal Waste Rule, specified waste
generators will be permitted to send specified universal wastes
to landfills, but this disposal allowance will be phased out by