Batteries

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In the U.S. Virgin Islands, batteries are considered hazardous waste. There are many different types of batteries, and each can pose a risk to human and/or environmental health. We use batteries every day in our homes and our workplaces, and even to power our vehicles. Some of these batteries can only be used once, while others can be used several times.

Some types of batteries we use everyday include:

Single-Use Batteries Rechargeable Batteries Vehicle Batteries
Alkaline (e.g. Duracell, Energizer, etc.) Nickel-Cadmium or NiCd (Powertools) Lead Acid Batteries
Zinc-Carbon Lithium-Ion or LIon (Laptops and cell phones) Nickel-Cadmium
Button Cells (for hearing aids, watches, etc.) Nickel-Metal-Hydride or NiMH  

The improper handling of old or used batteries when we are done with them can create many problems, including poisonous emissions, toxic corrosion, fires and even explosions.

What Should You Do With Your Old Batteries?

Single-Use and Rechargeable Batteries

At home, keep old or used batteries contained in a secure, dry location that cannot be easily accessed by children or animals. An old coffee tin or milk jug works well for this. Do not place them into the garbage!

Old batteries may still contain enough of a "charge" left to start a fire, even if they won't power your electronics. To reduce the risk of fire, place a piece of tape over the battery terminals before storing them.

When you have accumulated batteries that you want to dispose of , contact your local Household Hazasrdous Wste (HHW) Collection Center. The VIWMA will dispose your old batteries properly, and will recycle those batteries that can be recycled. On St. Croix, call (340) 712-4962 and on St. Thomas, call (340) 775-5031.

Lead-Acid Batteries

The disposal of lead-acid batteries can be harmful to the environment. Once disposed of in a landfill or illegally dumped, these lead-acid batteries may corrode and release lead and lead-contaminated sulfuric acid into the environment. They can also be a fire and explosion hazard. As a result, the VIWMA prohibits the disposal of lead-acid batteries at the landfills or transfer station.

Lead-acid batteries are not accepted at the Territory's landfills and transfer station. Lead-acid batteries are to be returned to the point of purchase for proper disposal.

When handling spent lead-acid batteries you should:

  • Minimize contact by wearing heavy rubber gloves, clothing that covers exposed skin, boots and eye protection;
  • Return your old lead-acid battery to the dealer as soon as possible after removing it from your vehicle;
  • If you do store your lead-acid battery, keep it dry and do not expose it to freezing temperatures; and
  • Store lead-acid batteries in a leak-proof container.
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