Office of General Services

New York State Office of General Services - Building Administration: 3 R's Program Battery FAQ
3R's Program: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Rechargable Battery Recycling

Charge Up to Recycle! The objective of the Battery Recycling Program is to help divert hazardous rechargeable batteries from going into area landfills by making the collection and recycling of these batteries convenient in the state workplace. OGS encourages tenants to use the program when disposing of rechargeable batteries.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of batteries will be collected?
A: This program specifically collects and recycles rechargeable batteries only. This includes batteries marked as: Lithium Ion, Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, and Sealed Lead. Wet-cell batteries and alkaline batteries are not included in this program - please contact the 3R's Program.

Q: How do I recycle rechargeable batteries through this program?
  1. Locate specially marked brown plastic receptacles—they are mounted to the wall in your building's centrally located recycling center. Typically, recycling centers are located on each floor of your OGS facility.
  2. Cover the battery terminals with non-conductive electrical tape before depositing the depleted battery. A roll of electrical tape will be attached to the recycling container. This step is important because a depleted battery may still contain a residual charge. This will prevent contact between terminals or with other metal surfaces during storage and transport.
  3. Deposit the batteries in the container. The OGS building manager is responsible for removing the batteries, which are then sent to a battery recycling contractor.

Q: Why is it important to recycle rechargeable batteries?
A: Rechargeable batteries have toxic contents that should be kept out of the waste stream. Approximately three-quarters of municipal waste is either placed in landfills or incinerated. Neither of these methods is suitable for the disposal of rechargeable batteries. In landfills, dangerous heavy metals have the potential to leach from these batteries into the soil, ground water, and surface water. When incinerated, the heavy metals can enter the air through smokestack emissions and can concentrate in the ash produced by combustion. In turn, when this incinerator ash is disposed of, the heavy metals can enter the environment.
Although batteries account for a relatively small portion of the total waste generated in the United States, Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries accounted for 75 percent of the cadmium found in municipal solid waste. Similarly, Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries accounted for 65 percent of the lead found in municipal solid waste.
Recycling programs designed to deal appropriately with Ni-Cd and SLA rechargeable batteries can significantly reduce the dangers posed to human health and the environment. The heavy metals are recovered during the recycling process at the recycling facility, and the remainder of the product is also recycled or discarded safely.