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Notes on Battery Disposal

Batteries are made from important resources and chemicals, including lead, cadmium, zinc, lithium and mercury.  Recycling batteries is good for the environment. It keeps them out of landfill, where heavy metals may leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes, causing soil and water pollution. If batteries are incinerated with household waste, the heavy metals in them may cause air pollution.  In some European countries users are legally obliged to dispose of batteries at official collection points.  If you see a battery marked with a crossed out wheelie bin this indicates that it is not suitable for disposal with regular household waste.

The symbols shown on batteries have the following meanings:

Pb = battery contains more than 0.004 percent lead
Cd = battery contains more than 0.002 percent cadmium
Hg = battery contains more than 0.0005 percent mercury.

In the UK for example each battery placed in a red recycling box will be taken apart and many of the materials will be recovered and used to make new batteries or something else. If you put your batteries into a household rubbish bin they will be taken to landfill sites and the resources lost.