We use batteries to power any number of household items: remote controls, cameras, flashlights and portable power tools, among others. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each year Americans buy almost 3 billion dry-cell batteries to power these common household items. The average American discards eight batteries each year. Single-use batteries contain materials that are both recyclable and considered hazardous.

If batteries are not recycled, these metals can pollute the environment. Depending on how batteries are discarded, the metals can be released into the air or remain behind in the ash created by incineration. Batteries that are disposed of in landfills can leach into the soil, contaminating water supplies. This is especially true of automotive batteries, which contain lead and acid. Instead you are encouraged to separate batteries from the regular household trash and find a proper place to dispose of the batteries. Rechargeable batteries have reduced the amount of batteries that need to be recycled. However the majority of batteries are still single-use.

Here are some places where you can recycle your old batteries:

Consumer retail stores– A lot of retail stores have begun to recycle batteries. Stores like Best Buy, Office Depot, and Radio Shack (just to name a few), typically have recycling kiosks inside their stores. These kiosks make it easy and quick to recycle your batteries, just drop them off and be on your merry way!

Call your local waste management facility — A lot of cities and towns have implemented a battery recycling program. Be sure to call your local waste management facility to see what options are available to you in your area.

Check online – Check online at websites like http://www.call2recycle.org/ and http://earth911.com/recycling/single-use-batteries/ to find battery recycling drop off locations nearest you!