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Household Hazardous Waste
Automotive Products - Car Batteries - Lead Acid


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Every motor vehicle has a lead-acid battery that stores the energy needed to start the engine and to run accessories when the engine isn’t running.

This battery is recharged when the engine is running (by the alternator). When a battery loses its ability to recharge, it must be properly disposed of. Proper disposal of lead-acid batteries is important due to the materials contained in it.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, most car batteries contain 18 pounds of lead and one gallon of lead-contaminated sulfuric acid. Every year, 70 million batteries are generated in the U.S. That’s 1.25 billion pounds of lead and 70 million gallons of sulfuric acid disposed of annually. To deal with the hazards of auto batteries, Vermont banned them from disposal in landfills after July 1, 1990.


Lead, which is a suspected carcinogen, can cause nerve and kidney damage in humans. The sulfuric acid in automobile batteries can cause severe burns and blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes. Batteries are made of plastic and can leak over time creating a high chance for exposure.

Handling & Storage:


  • When handling batteries use acid resistant or leather gloves
  • Store and carry batteries right side up in a leak proof non-metallic container
  • If the battery leaks, neutralize the area with baking soda or calcium carbonate (lime) and rinse with water
  • Don’t smoke or cause sparks (by placing metal on top of the battery) near stored batteries. This may cause any explosive gasses they contain to ignite
  • If contact occurs with the skin, flush immediately with plenty of water and seek medical attention, don’t try to neutralize burns on the skin




  • Disposal of batteries in a landfill is illegal in Vermont
  • Some auto repair centers will accept batteries for a small fee
  • When purchasing a new battery, retailers are required by Vermont law to accept the old battery back for disposal
  • Some salvage yards and metal recyclers will accept batteries
  • Batteries can also be taken to your local household hazardous waste
    collection facility

Where to take HHW:


Towns and solid waste districts hold hazardous waste collection events every year, two per year at minimum (spring and fall) and many common household hazardous wastes can be disposed of at these events. For more information and event scheduling, contact your solid waste district. Find contact information on the solid waste district contact list page. (Note: If you live in a village, fire district, etc., please select the town your village, fire district, etc. is in from the list. If your town is not a member of a district, contact information for your town clerk is provided.) 

Solid Waste Management Districts contact list





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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