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 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 (including light source/batteries) after use.  We recommend you check with your facility’s biohazardous waste 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 and disposing of the entire device (including light source/batteries) as biohazardous waste after use. We recommend you check with your facility’s biohazardous waste policy prior to use.

 

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