How to Dispose of 12 Volt Batteries

by Tom Wagner

When a 12-volt car battery no longer accepts recharging from your car’s alternator despite regular maintenance — such as keeping the water levels full and the acid concentration within parameters — you must replace it. Usually, this is a very simple process. However, because car batteries are by nature hazardous waste, you cannot simply throw the old one away. You must dispose of it properly; or better yet, you can recycle it, thus helping the environment, possibly saving some money or even making a little cash in the process.


Recycle your 12-volt battery by returning it to the dealer that sold it to you. If you bring your car to an auto parts store with a service bay, to an automobile service station or to your auto dealer for a battery change, they will replace the old battery and recycle it for you, usually for no charge. However, if you only bring in the dead car battery for an exchange without your car, they may charge you a nominal recycling fee.


Take your old 12-volt battery to AAA. The American Automobile Association, or the “Auto Club,” has a program called the Great Battery Roundup every year coinciding with Earth Day. Every AAA branch office has a large recycling bin where you can drop off old 12-volt batteries for recycling. The service is free, but the drawback is that the recycling bin is available only one day out of the year. Additional benefits of the Great Battery Roundup are that AAA will also perform a free check on your current car battery and will donate a percentage of the proceeds to charities and environmental groups.


Find a metal recycling center in your area. Some metal recyclers will not only take the old battery off your hands, but may also pay you for it. Consult your local telephone directory to find the nearest metal recycling center.


Contact your local sanitation department to dispose of the battery. Some larger sanitation departments have special disposal sites for hazardous materials. This service may be ongoing throughout the year, or may only be available at certain times. Some sanitation departments provide this service for free while others charge a minimal fee, so be sure to call ahead before taking your battery to the local dump.

About the Author

Tom Wagner began writing for newspapers and magazines in the L.A. area in 2001. With articles appearing in "California Examiner," "World Reporter," the "Philippine Nurses Monitor" and "Famegate Global News," he currently writes for all three Philippine Media publications in Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas. His articles focus on food, social issues, travel, sight-seeing, humor, general information, politics and medical matters.

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  • photo_camera dead battery image by Katrina Miller from