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Some batteries are hazardous because they contain mercury, lead, cadmium, or silver. These metals are toxic and hazardous to the environment. In Minnesota, it is illegal to throw hazardous batteries in the garbage or burn them.
It can be difficult to determine the type of battery you have, whether it is rechargeable, and whether it is recyclable. Sometimes, the label information, the shape of the battery, or the information on the packaging will tell you. If not, contact a retailer who specializes in batteries for assistance in identifying the type.
Common Battery Types/Disposal Method
Automotive batteries are lead-acid batteries and are used in vehicles such as cars, boats, snowmobiles, golf carts, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and wheelchairs.
Automotive batteries contain about 18 pounds of lead and about 1 gallon of highly corrosive sulfuric acid. Both are toxic.
It’s illegal to put vehicle batteries in the garbage. They must be recycled. By law (Minnesota Statutes § 325E.1151), an auto battery retailer must accept up to five lead acid batteries per consumer and may not charge to receive the batteries. You must turn in your old lead-acid battery when you buy a new one or you will be charged a surcharge of at least $10.00. The retailer must refund the surcharge if you bring in the old battery, with your receipt for the purchase of the new battery from that retailer, within 30 days of purchase.