Battery Information

About Alkaline Batteries:

Did you know most everyday use batteries are alkaline[1]?

Older alkaline batteries contained Mercury which is harmful to the environment[2].  Mercury was phased out of alkaline batteries as part of the “Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act,” passed in 1996[2].

To be classified a hazardous waste, a battery must have of one of four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity and toxicity[2].  The modern alkaline battery (manufactured post Battery Act) is considered non-toxic by the E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) and does not exhibit the characteristics necessary to be classified as reactive or ignitable wastes[3].  Modern alkaline batteries do not contain any toxic materials such as mercury or cadmium, as classified under federal E.P.A. guidelines.  Alkaline batteries are not considered an RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) regulated hazardous waste[4].  The electrolyte of an alkaline battery does not meet the definition of an aqueous solution or free liquid; therefore, they are not, by definition, a corrosive waste[4].

*Regulations may vary in your municipality or state so please check your local regulations.

 

About Lithium Batteries:

Lithium batteries are considered a hazardous waste and are potentially reactive if not completely discharged[5].  Button size lithium batteries may contain perchlorate, which is regulated as a hazardous waste in California[6].  There are very few companies that recycle lithium batteries.  The cost is significant compared to incineration[7].  Lithium batteries should not be incinerated; lithium can be explosive[10].  While there are no federal regulations for disposal of lithium batteries, individual states or localities can establish their own guidelines for battery disposal, and should be contacted for any disposal guidelines that they may have.

 

FAQ:

What type of batteries are used to power OBP Medical light sources?

All OBP Medical light sources are powered by alkaline button batteries.

 

Do I need to dispose of batteries separately?

OBP Medical product are designed to be disposed in their entirety after use.  We recommend you check with your facility’s battery disposal policy prior to use.

 

Can alkalkine batteries be incinerated?

Yes.  Appropriate disposal technologies include incineration[8].

 

Can lithium batteries be incinerated?

No due to risk of explosion[10].

 

Are batteries medical waste after use?

Yes.  These batteries may come in contact with potentially infectious body fluids.  We recommend treating the entire device (including light source/batteries) as medical waste after the exam.

 

Additional Information Regarding Medical Waste:

The Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 defines medical waste as any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals.  This includes[9]:

  • Items that are freely dripping liquid or semi-liquid blood or “potentially infectious materials” or could readily release infectious materials if compressed
  • Items containing dried blood or “potentially infectious materials” that could release flakes if compressed or otherwise handled
  • Human blood and blood products, including serum, plasma, and blood components
  • Hemodialysis waste of all items that were in contact with the patient’s blood (tubing, filters, towels, gloves, aprons, lab coats) and any other contaminated disposable equipment)
  • Human or animal isolation wastes (blood, excretion, exudates, secretions, and items contaminated with these) from humans or animals that have been isolated to protect others from communicable diseases
  • Sharps waste
  • Surgery or autopsy tissue, organs, or body parts (eg, adenoids, appendix, tonsils, amputated digits, hands, feet, arms or legs), also known as pathological wastes
  • Surgical and autopsy wastes (eg, soiled dressings, sponges, drapes, lavage tubes, drainage sets, underpads, and surgical gloves) that were in contact with infectious agents
  • Cultures or stocks of any virus, bacterium or other organism including discarded live attenuated vaccines and the items used to transfer, inoculate or mix cultures
  • Tissues, organs, body parts, bedding, carcasses, and body fluids from experimental animals that were exposed to infectious agents
  • Teeth in dentistry
  • Laboratory wastes that have been in contact with infectious wastes, including gloves, coats and aprons
  • Discarded medical equipment and its components that have been in contact with infectious agents
  • Any other discarded item or waste that an administrator believes poses a threat to human health or the environment
  • Potentially infectious body fluids including:
    • Amniotic fluids
    • Blood and its components
    • Cerebrospinal and synovial fluid
    • Dialysate and dialysis waste
    • Pericardial and pleural fluid
    • Peritoneal
    • Saliva in dental procedures
    • Semen
    • Vaginal secretions

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.energizer.com/about-batteries/battery-faq

[2] http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/battery.htm

[3] https://www.nema.org/Policy/Environmental-Stewardship/Documents/Sound_Environmental_Management_10_01.pdf

[4] http://www.deq.utah.gov/Topics/General/PollutionPrevention/docs/2008/04Apr/Batteryfact.pdf

[5] http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/hw/documents/hw-23.pdf

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_battery

[7] http://www.bipowerusa.com/documents/disposal.asp

[8] http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/alkalineminiature_psds.pdf

[9] http://www.stericycle.com/medical-waste-faqs

[10] https://practicegreenhealth.org/pubs/epp/guidetobatteries.pdf