Recycling Batteries

Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2010

I know you're not supposed to throw dead batteries in the trash, because they contain dangerous chemicals, but is there any alternative to a special trip to the hazardous waste disposal place? Longs used to accept them, but CVS doesn't. Neither does Home Depot. Any other suggestions (preferably near downtown Berkeley)? Trying to dispose of things properly

[Editor's note] The El Cerrito Recycling Center takes them.

Most Whole Foods stores seem to have a collection bag for batteries. I walk by Whole Foods in San Francisco on my way to work every day and that's where I take my old batteries. Maybe all the Whole Foods take batteries -- but you could call to make sure before heading over there. The Berkeley store is at Telegraph and Ashby and the phone number is 510.649.1333. Dana

The Ace Hardware on University Ave near Shattuck takes alkaline and lithium dead batteries. They also take incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. recycler

Ace Hardware on University takes dead batteries (and fluorescent lightbulbs) anon

Last time I checked, Whole Foods and Walgreens both took them.

If you work at UC Berkeley, see this: michael

I live in Oakland, and Waste Management sent out a flyer a while ago about battery recycling. They said to put the dead batteries in a ziplock bag and tape it to the top of your garbage bin. Then just put your garbage out as usual and they'll recycle them. I'm not sure if it's the same for Berkeley. If not maybe you have a friend in Oakland who would let you tape a bag to their bin. Ikea in Emeryville also used to have battery recycling box near the returns area. Battery Recycler

Alamada Waste Management company takes batteries. You put them in a baggie and tape it on the lid of the garbage can. This is for Oakland. Not sure about Berkeley. Please call to confirm. Also, I don't know if it is available for all Oakland libraries. I do know the Rockridge branch takes dead batteries. anon

IKEA Albany Y check the archives for more R.K.

The two places I know of are at the front customer service desk at Whole Foods on Telegraph and Ashby and at the Rockridge Library in Oakland. You could also google it

There were many suggestions for battery recycling, many of which are now outdated. I don't know the details, but with stricter requirements about transporting batteries enacted, MOST community locations (Ikea, libraries, etc) no longer accept batteries for recycling. Your best bet is to call in advance or hit the city transfer station off Gilman & I-80. -battery recycler

Feb 2008

Now that we have transferred over to using fluorescent light bulbs, I read somewhere that you have to be careful how you dispose of them. Does anyone know where around Rockridge that we can dispose of them? And while we're on the subject, what is the appropriate way to dispose of batteries? Thank you! anon

Everything you need to know is here: michael

Batteries is easy. Oakland public libraries have bins where you can dispose of batteries for recycling. Not sure about bulbs, though. Karen

Check out this website

Many hardware stores like OSH will accept fluorescent bulbs (they have mercury in them). Office supply stores will often accept batteries and used cell phones.

The El Cerrito recycling center has buckets for household batteris and also accepts car batteries. For other household hazardous material like pesticides, paint and cleaners, look on the above website for your nearest location. crystal

Ikea in Emeryville has free bins for disposing of light bulbs and batteries. The bins are near the exit. I believe the bins are attached to a wall near the restrooms as you are exiting the store. Felicity

There are a lot of places to recycle those items. The easiest thing to do is go to and use the recycling wizard there. It's easiest to use if you select ''all materials''. The list is alphabetical, so it's pretty easy to find places to recycle lots of things. It only covers Alameda county, though, so not all area options are shown. For example, residents can drop off household batteries at the El Cerrito Recycling Center. Still, it's a great resource. R.K.

Old batteries, fluorescent bulbs, old paint and any hazardous wastes are to be dropped off at Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Drop off. The phone is (800) 606-6606. Call for directions and to find out when they are open. It is really easy, it's a drive through area so you don't even need to leave your car. They take it from you. We keep a bag in our utility closet and collect all old batteries, fluorescents, etc. and then when it's full enough drive it over. It's worth the effort! Alexandra

Ikea takes both. I think some other stores like Best Buy or Walgreens accept batteries and printer cartridges. A lot of stores that sell the products do have recycling programs. Just phone up some stores convenient to you that sell these products and ask. L

[Editor] additional responses received for Recycling Fluorescent Bulbs

Feb 2007

Throwing household batteries in the trash is now illegal as well as environmentally irresponsible, but I cannot find anywhere in Berkeley, Albany or El Cerrito that will take them. Does anyone know of a place other than the toxics site in Oakland??

I save up all my batteries and then take them to IKEA. They have a recycling bin for batteries across from customer service. Sam

Collection program intended to energize battery recycling By Chris Treadway CONTRA COSTA TIMES It has been a year since a state law made it illegal to put batteries -- those Energizers, Duracells, Ray-O-Vacs and the like -- in the household garbage. And complying with the new law hasn't been simple. The only option for lawfully disposing of batteries in West Contra Costa has been to take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility -- in an area of Richmond remote from much of the greater community -- and most people have instead continued to dump their batteries in the traditional manner, legal or not. But more options are now available under a new program intended to make it easier to safely and legally turn in batteries for recycling. Buckets for depositing spent household batteries are now in place at the El Cerrito Recycling Center, the Walgreens store in El Cerrito and the Staples office supply locations in El Cerrito and Pinole. New locations around West County communities will be coming soon, including buckets at city offices and community centers, said Mersina Purlantov, programs manager for the West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority. Longs Drugs, Radio Shack and more Walgreens locations in West County are expected to participate, she said. Recycling to this point has been ''a drop in the bucket,'' Purlantov said, but that could change if people get accustomed to dropping batteries in collection buckets. Although the hazardous waste facility collected 9,500 pounds of batteries for recycling in 2005-06, all brought in by residential users, that was only a fraction of the area's estimated battery consumption, Purlantov said. A 2002 waste board study projected that the West Contra Costa area alone would consume more than 4.1 million batteries in 2006, Purlantov said, which translates to more than 419,000 pounds. ''That's why we got a grant to set up places to drop off batteries,'' she said. The $156,000 grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board is for battery collection and education. El Cerrito was chosen as the main starting place for the program because it has a well-established recycling program and a history of strong participation in such efforts. The recycling center began accepting batteries shortly after the beginning of the year, said Alexis Petru, a waste prevention specialist for the city. People from any city can drop off batteries at the center, but it is for residential users only, not businesses, Petru said. ''We can't be accepting huge pickup truck loads of batteries from businesses,'' Petru said. Batteries diverted from the garbage dump not only provide a chance for salvaging metals and other materials, they also keep corrosive and toxic elements from entering the soil and groundwater. ''All of it will be recycled,'' Purlantov said, adding that a postcard mailing will go out to West County households once enough drop-off locations are finalized. WHERE TO RECYCLE The West County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, 101 Pittsburg Ave. in Richmond, is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. each Thursday and Friday and the first Saturday of each month. For more details, visit The El Cerrito Recycling Center, 7501 Schmidt Lane, is open from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (closed holidays). For more details, visit


I recently saw a battery recycling spot at Ikea in Emeryville ... it's near the exit doors near the furniture pickup. susan

I'm sure there must be other places that take batteries, but I only know of one: Ikea in Emeryville has a big bin for used alkaline batteries. It's downstairs by the cash registers (close to the furniture pick-up area and the restrooms). As for rechargeable batteries (like cell phone batteries, etc.), places like Radio Shack and Target take those. Andi

IKEA has a collection bin for batteries near the checkout stands. anon

Ikea! They also take those compact fluorescent bulbs, which have mercury in them and should not go into landfills either. The drop-off spot is inside, to the right of the exit, as you are leaving the building. You could leave your car in the pick-up 5 min. zone and run in and out in 30 seconds. Or, if you live in Contra Costa County, you can take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Center, in Richmond. I don't do this unless I have a bunch of yucky stuff (old paint, solvents, bug spray, whatever) because it's not particularly convenient. I mean, I wait until I *do* have a bunch of stuff. Check the hours before you go, though; it's got odd ones. CR

Ikea recycles batteries, as well as light bulbs. anon

IKEA recycles alkaline household batteries. They have a bin near the customer service/returns area. They also accept compact fluorescent light bulbds for recycling. I haven't found a place for watch batteries, though. R.K.

The El Cerrito Recycling Center at the end of Schmidt Lane now has 2 buckets to recycle household batteries. It's located at the area where you can recycle motor oil. I brought a bagful just last week. recycler

The Montclair Library in Oakland will recycle your old batteries. Joan

lasher's electric shop (is the name, i believe) on university, south side, between mcgee and grant accepts all batteries for recycling. i believe most or all radio shacks also used to and may also still do so. doug

I take my household batteries (and lightbulbs) to IKEA. There are two recycling bins by the returns and past the checkouts. Recycler

Ikea in Emeryville takes household batteries and lightbulbs for recycling. You will find the containers on the wall between the checkout counters and the large item pickup area, near the bathrooms. Deborah

Two options: Radio Shack recycles batteries, and IKEA has a bin near the exit. Thanks for not tossing them in the landfill! Camille

I just today got a postcard from Marvin Gardens on Solano. They're collecting old batteries for recycling duning regular business hours. (MF 9-5, Sat 10-4) julie