Unlike the single-use batteries we are constantly replacing in our remote control devices, the batteries found in most computers, laptops, and smartphones are rechargeable. In almost all cases, that means they are very likely to contain harmful chemicals, heavy metals and/or rare earth minerals. If not disposed of properly, their toxins will eventually leach into the soil and water table that we rely upon to survive. Furthermore, if consumers continue the trend of replacing portable devices frequently, there will be more and more batteries disposed of, some that may not even be depleted of their power.

Of course, tossing batteries in the trash is never a good idea. Fortunately, rechargeable batteries are recyclable. In fact, there are many recycling programs in effect that not only help protect the natural environment, but also recover some of the more expensive elements of the battery that have often been imported at great cost. So, check with your local electronics retailer, your municipal solid waste management department, or your local government office. Chances are you’ll easily locate a facility that accepts expired or partially used batteries from your personal devices and ensures they’re disposed of safely and efficiently. In some cases, you may even get a credit towards a replacement purchase.