The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Lithium Battery Disposal

Here are some tips on how to safely dispose of lithium batteries:

  1. Submit a Chemical Waste Pickup Request Form: One of the best ways to dispose of lithium batteries is to recycle them. EHS will come to your location to pick up the batteries for recycling or disposal. Recycling not only helps reduce waste but also allows the valuable materials in the batteries, such as lithium and cobalt, to be reused.
  2. Tape the battery terminals: Before disposing of lithium batteries, make sure to tape the terminals with non-conductive tape, such as electrical or masking tape. This will help prevent accidental fires that can occur if the batteries come into contact with metal objects or other unprotected terminals.
  3. Properly label the battery or container: Lithium batteries are classified as Universal Waste. In order to comply with regulatory requirements, the batteries or battery containers must be labeled with a universal waste label and marked with the date. Labels are available free-of-charge from EHS by submitting a Label Request Form.
  4. Do not throw the batteries in the trash: It is essential to avoid throwing lithium batteries in the regular trash as they can cause fires in landfills. Dispose of them through EHS.

Properly disposing of lithium batteries is crucial to protect the environment and prevent potential harm to human health. Recycling is the best way to dispose of these batteries and taping the terminals will prevent fires.