We Know Batteries. Period.

And safety is our #1 priority.

Your Battery Recycling Partner

We are the largest and most efficient battery sorting operation in North America. Our expert team and investment in advanced technology make the difference when it comes to efficient, accurate, and safe battery handling.

As batteries have changed over time, some have started to look like each other, adding complexity to the process. Each iRecycle Kit from Battery Solutions falls under our special permit, allowing our customers to comingle their batteries. We aim to make battery recycling as simple as possible.

Quick Identifiers

Identifying what kind of batteries you have is simple, just look on the sides of the battery for the chemistry name and/or the voltage.

The crossed-out garbage can is a common symbol found on rechargeable (including lithium-based) batteries. If you see it and cannot further identify the battery, tape the terminals just to be sure.

Most batteries have either the full name or chemical abbreviation of their base battery chemistry somewhere on the outer shell.

Taping Tips

  • Cover the terminals of the battery with clear tape in the areas indicated in red.
  • Batteries for tools may have multiple terminals around a similar area, so make sure each is covered completely.
  • Use only clear/translucent tape, electrical or duct tape prevents battery identification.

Quick Reference

Want a quick visual look at what batteries need taping, or how the program works?

Download a printable PDF here!

Household Batteries—Included in Program

These are the most common types of batteries powering devices you use everyday. Some are rechargeable, you can plug them in to charge and get multiple uses before the battery needs to be replaced. Some are non-rechargeable or single-use, once they are fully discharged, they should be recycled.

Must Be Taped

Lithium (Primary)

Small dry-cell batteries, sealed, non-rechargeable.

  • Button Cells
  • AAA
  • AA
  • 9-Volt
  • Small-Cylinder
  • Custom Sizes
  • Watches
  • Cameras
  • Handheld Electronics
  • Tire-Pressure Sensors
  • Alarms
  • Memory Backup
  • High-Temperature Applications
  • Pacemakers
  • Remote Car Locks
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Non-spillable
  • Can cause fire if short-circuited, punctured, damaged, improperly charged, or improperly disposed

High temperature metal reclamation (HTMR) is used to recover the metals.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion)

Small dry cell batteries, sealed, rechargeable

  • Custom sizes in hard or soft plastic case
  • Small Cylinder
  • Standard AA, AAA Sizes
  • Cellphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptop Computers
  • Wireless Accessories
  • Power Tools
  • Video cameras
  • Handheld Electronics
  • Electric & Hybrid Automobiles
    • (see Hybrid Automobile section )
  • Non-spillable
  • Can cause fire if punctured, damaged, improperly charged, or improperly disposed

Mechanical separation followed by hydrometallurgical or pyrometallurgical treatment is used to recover the metals (nickel, iron, cobalt, lithium) and plastics of lithium batteries for reuse in new products.

Batteries Over 9 Volts

Dry-cell battery packs, sealed, rechargeable

  • AAA
  • AA
  • C
  • D
  • Small-Cylinder
  • Plastic Film-Wrapped Packs of Cylindrical Cells
  • Custom Sizes in Hard Plastic Case
  • Older Cellphones
  • Older Laptop Computers
  • Power Tools
  • Handheld Electronics
  • Toys
  • R/C Hobby Vehicles
  • Medical Equipment
  • Non-Spillable
  • Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal
  • Never incinerate – produces toxic cadmium vapors

Thermal treatment under vacuum is used to selectively recover the cadmium. A Ni-Fe alloy and plastics are also recovered.

Do Not Need to be Taped

Alkaline & Zinc Carbon

Small dry-cell batteries, sealed, non-rechargeable. Zinc carbon batteries are labeled general purpose or heavy duty.

  • AAA
  • AA
  • C
  • D
  • 9-Volt
  • Button Cells
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Cameras
  • Toys
  • Watches
  • Handheld Electronics
  • Non-spillable
  • Non-toxic
  • Can leak corrosive materials with age

Can be recycled! Secondary commodities from the recycling process include:
– Zinc manganese concentrate (ZMC) used as a micronutrient in fertilizer
– Paper, plastic, brass used to strengthen concrete in road construction
– Steel used in the manufacturing of new steel based products

Mercury

Outdated type of small dry-cell batteries, sealed, non-rechargeable. Outlawed for public use by The Battery Act of 1996. May still be used by the military.

  • AA
  • 9-Volt
  • Small-Cylinder
  • Button Cells
  • Custom Sizes
  • Cameras
  • Medical Devices
  • Military
  • Non-spillable
  • Toxic
  • Never incinerate – produces highly toxic vapors

Heavy metals are recovered through a controlled-temperature process.

Silver Oxide

Small to large dry-cell batteries, sealed, non-rechargeable.

  • Button cells
  • High- Voltage Small-Cylinder
  • Large Custom Sizes
  • Watches
  • Hearing Aids
  • Cameras
  • Torpedoes
  • Aircraft
  • Non-Spillable
  • Non-Toxic

Metals are recovered through a controlled-temperature process.

Zinc Air

Small dry-cell batteries, sealed, non-rechargeable.

  • Button cells,
  • 9-Volt
  • Custom Sizes
  • Hearing Aids
  • Watches
  • Non-Spillable
  • Non-Toxic

Zinc-air batteries are recycled in the same way as alkaline batteries or by the high temperature metal reclamation (HTMR) method.

Enclosed Terminals

Small dry-cell batteries, sealed, rechargeable

  • AAA
  • AA
  • C
  • D
  • 9 volt
  • 12 volt
  • Plastic Film-Wrapped Packs of Cylindrical Cells
  • Small-Cylinder
  • Custom Sizes
  • Older Cell phones
  • Older Laptop Computers
  • Power Tools
  • Cameras
  • Handheld Electronics
  • R/C Hobby Vehicles
  • Early Hybrid Automobiles
    • (see Hybrid Automobile section)
  • Non-Spillable
  • Non-Toxic

The batteries are heated to remove the electrolyte and plastics. The remaining metals can be provided to various industries.

Vehicle Batteries—Not Part of Pail Program

Mobility batteries power our cars, motorcycles, boats, lawnmowers and other motorized vehicles. Ask our customer service team about other options.

Electric Automotive

Battery from a fully electric vehicle. Large Li-ion dry cell, sealed, rechargeable.

  • Full Assembly
  • Packs
  • Cells
  • Fully Electric Vehicles
  • Micro Mobility Devices
  • High Voltage–Dangerous
  • Can cause fire if punctured, damaged, improperly charged, or improperly disposed

The batteries are disassembled into smaller units called modules. The modules are then mechanically separated and the components are recovered in the same process as small Li-ion batteries. Mechanical separation followed by hydrometallurgical or pyrometallurgical treatment is used to recover the metals (nickel, iron, cobalt, lithium) and plastics of lithium batteries for reuse in new products.

Hybrid Automotive

Large, dry-cell batteries, NiMH and Li-ion most common, sealed, rechargeable

  • Large pack of small cells
  • Cylinders
  • Pouches
  • Hybrid Automobiles
  • High Voltage–Dangerous
  • Can cause fire if punctured, damaged, improperly charged, or improperly disposed

The batteries are disassembled into smaller units called modules. The modules are then mechanically separated and the components are recovered in the same process as small Li-ion batteries. Mechanical separation followed by hydrometallurgical or pyrometallurgical treatment is used to recover the metals (nickel, iron, cobalt, lithium) and plastics of lithium batteries for reuse in new products.

Automotive Lead Acid

Medium to large, flooded cell batteries, vented, rechargeable

  • Hard Case, Rectangular
  • Multi-Cell
  • Automobiles
  • Motorcycles
  • Boats
  • Outdoor Power Equipment
  • Spillable
  • Lead is a toxic heavy metal
  • Contains acid electrolyte that is corrosive if spilled

With a 99% recycling rate, lead acid batteries are among the most recyclable batteries. Every part of the battery is recycled and the lead usually goes back into making new batteries.

Benefitting the Environment

EPA's Cited Benefits

  • Reduction in waste sent to landfills
  • Conservation of natural resources, such as metals and minerals
  • Helps prevent pollution by reducing the need to collect new, raw materials
  • Saves energy spent on refining virgin materials
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations
  • Helps create new, well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States
  • Once the materials are recycled they can be reused in making new products

Frequently asked questions

Definitely! We recycle everything from the button cells in a hearing aid to 5,000 lb lead acid backups, from a Model T battery to the newly engineered research batteries being developed for the electric vehicles of tomorrow, and beyond. 

We can handle any size, any volume, any chemistry, from anywhere in North America.

An old or breached alkaline battery may leak or have corrosion on the terminals. Place this battery in a sandwich or other clear plastic bag before placing in your collection container. 

If a lithium-based battery is swollen, cracked, or exhibiting odd charging behavior, it may be damaged. These batteries require special consideration like our Damaged Battery (DDR) Kits.

Always! Check out our Recycling Benefits page to learn a bit more about what recycling batteries can do for you and the planet.

Batteries are made of many metals and alloys, all of which are a limited natural resource. The demand for these materials is quickly outpacing the planet’s mine-able capacity. By recycling instead of landfilling, even alkaline batteries can make a difference in the circular economy.

Please don’t! Those batteries are fully recyclable and, via our room temperature processing line, can become new steel products, brick colorant, and even fertilizer for corn and soybean farmers.

Our pails are covered by our special permit, meaning any non-spillable battery chemistries and battery-containing devices can be commingled in this pail.

This includes:

  • Alkaline
  • Zinc Carbon
  • Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
  • Lithium-Ion
  • Lithium Primary
  • Mercury Batteries
  • Silver Oxide
  • Button Cells
  • Lead Acid – Non-Spillable
  • Small Electronics (cellphones, tablets, wireless headphones and earbuds, smart watches, activity trackers, powertools, etc.)

Need help identifying a battery? Check out our battery types database to see if your battery fits one of those categories.

Still stumped? Email the Battery Experts.

We are headquartered in Wixom, MI and have a southwest center in Mesa, AZ.

Our service range extends across the continental US and into Canada and Mexico.

Both our audit packet and compliance certifications are accessible from our Documentation page.

Most batteries can go directly into the pail. Lithium-based batteries and any battery over 9 volts must have their terminals protected by clear (not opaque) tape. Some batteries have terminals that are protected by design, these batteries do not need to be taped.

Do not use opaque tape (including duct, electrical, painter’s, patterned), as these types interfere with battery identification.

Your pail is already labeled to ship back for processing. Simply schedule a pickup and hand it off to your regular UPS driver. Or, drop it off at your local UPS store.

Have a pallet full of pails? See our pallet shipping instructions for further information.

Michigan Recycling Resources

Serving the communities of Farmington, Farmington Hills, Milford, Milford Township, Novi, South Lyon, Southfield, Walled Lake, Wixom

Serving the communities of Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Troy

  • Saginaw County

have questions?

Our battery experts have answers about our pail program and more.