The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Universal Waste - Batteries

Article published 10/30/17

Universal Waste - Battery Recycling and Disposal

Did you know that Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) recycles some types of batteries? Many instruments and electronic devices run on battery power, and it’s important that spent batteries be disposed of properly. Batteries generally fall into two groups, non-hazardous (alkaline batteries) and hazardous (batteries that contain hazardous materials). Spent hazardous batteries are also known as “Universal Waste Batteries” and EPA regulates their disposal. Universal waste batteries must not be disposed of in the trash. Common universal waste batteries include:

  • nickel-cadmium or nicad
  • lithium ion and lithium thionyl chloride
  • lead-acid
  • silver oxide
  • nickel-metal hydride
  • All rechargeable batteries

EHS collects and recycles universal waste batteries to keep them out of the landfill and to comply with EPA regulations. Departments that have universal waste batteries for disposal are responsible for labeling the batteries then notifying EHS for a pickup. Universal waste battery labels are available from EHS free of charge and will be delivered to you through campus mail. Submit a request for labels and a chemical waste pickup request for removal on the EHS web.

More information about universal waste disposal may be found on the EHS web page.

Alkaline batteries however are not hazardous and may be safely disposed of in the normal trash. 

Further questions about batteries may be directed to Jim Pyrz at 335-4625.