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Household Batteries

Info for Residents and Small Businesses

Batteries are used in many tools, appliances, and toys that cannot be plugged into an electrical outlet.  Batteries make these items portable and give them a greater range of use. The batteries used in all these devices have similar structures and components used for producing electricity. Certain components--such as heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, and lead---are hazardous to human health and the environment. Heavy metals may adversely affect kidney, liver, lung or brain functions in humans and wildlife, and are important to manage properly through safe disposal or recycling.

Recycling of household batteries has the added value of reducing the need to expensively mine for virgin metals. This conserves natural resources, and lessens environmental impacts from mining.

Types of Household Batteries

Primary batteries Rechargeable batteries

Single use batteries include alkaline, carbon-zinc dry cell, and lithium metal batteries. These are also known as "primary batteries" under new Vermont legislation (Act 139), which requires manufacturers of primary batteries to provide collection programs for the recycling and proper disposal of their products. This program will be active in Vermont as of July 1, 2016.

Rechargeable batteries that can use an electric charge to restore the electric current back into the battery (these batteries have the word rechargeable on them). These include nickel cadmium, lithium ion, small sealed lead acid, and nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries. Voluntary recycling of rechargeable batteries is available from the program Call2Recycle.

Where can I bring my used batteries?

1. Towns and solid waste districts host FREE hazardous waste collection events every year, twice per year at minimum (spring and fall) for residents and small businesses. Many common household hazardous wastes can be disposed or recycled of at these events, including primary and rechargeable batteries.


For more information and event scheduling, contact your solid waste district using the link below.

>> Find your Solid Waste Management Entity HERE.

2. When the recycling program for primary batteries in Vermont goes into effect on July 1, 2016, there will be many more convenient options for battery collection and recycling. Retailers and other types of businesses may participate as drop-off centers at that time. Information will be updated here.


3. It is acceptable to dispose of primary batteries with your household trash if other recycling options are not available to you. However, this practice will be highly discouraged with the implementation of the state-wide primary battery recycling program in 2016.


Info for Battery Manufacturers

The Primary Battery Stewardship Law (Act 139)

Batteries are composed of valuable materials that can be recycled rather than wasted.  Vermonters buy over 10 million batteries a year and this bill will provide Vermonters with convenient options for recycling primary batteries.

What is a Primary Battery?
Primary Battery means a non-rechargeable battery weighing two kilograms or less, including alkaline, carbon-zinc, and lithium metal batteries. 

Are Rechargeable Batteries included in this law?
No, they are not.  However, rechargeable batteries are currently collected and recycled under a voluntary stewardship program operated by Call2Recycle. Rechargeable batteries covered under Call2Recycle’s program and collected for free are:  Nickel Cadmium (Ni-CD), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn), and Small Sealed Lead (SSLA/Pb). All cell phones can also be recycled under this program.

For information on the voluntary stewardship program for rechargeable batteries please see Call2Recycle’s web page. 

What do I have to do to comply with the law?
This bill requires manufacturers of primary batteries to register with VT ANR as of March 1, 2015, and provide a Stewardship Plan to manage the proper recycling and/or disposal of all primary batteries sold in Vermont.  Stewardship Plan(s) are due June 1, 2015.  The Stewardship Plan(s) must establish a free collection program supported by manufacturers for all primary batteries and provide at a minimum no less than 2 collection facilities in each county in VT year round.

Please see the primary battery stewardship law summary sheet for more information.

Can multiple manufacturers register together as one stewardship organization?
Yes. Beginning March 1 and annually thereafter, a primary battery stewardship organization shall file a registration form with ANR.  A primary battery stewardship organization is an organization appointed by one or more producers to act as an agent on behalf of a producer or producers to design, submit, implement and administer a primary battery stewardship plan.  ANR will provide the registration form on its website for primary battery stewardship organizations. 

The registration form shall require the following information:

  • A list of the participating producers;
  • The name, address and contact information of a person responsible for ensuring a producer’s compliance with this chapter;
  • A description of how the stewardship organization proposes to meet requirements of participation in a stewardship organization; and
  • Name, address and contact information of a person for a nonmember manufacturer to contact on how to participate in the primary battery stewardship organization to satisfy the requirements of this chapter.

Forms & Documents



Last updated:
VT DEC Waste Management & Prevention Division 1 National Life Drive - Davis 1  Montpelier, VT  05620-3704  Tele: 802-828-1138  Fax: 802-828-1011

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