Battery Disposal


The decision on the proper disposal of batteries can be confusing. The information listed below is intended to assist the Temple community in determining the proper method of the disposal of batteries that were purchased with University funds and used for used for official business (i.e. Temple) related activities. The primary disposal goal of batteries at Temple University is recycling/reclamation.


Individuals with batteries used for personal reasons are encouraged to use curbside recycling, household hazardous waste programs or recycling drop programs for proper disposal.  The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation   has additional information as well as a search engine to assist you in finding a convenient drop off location.   Earth 911 ( is another useful website for information about recycling batteries. Consult with your local municipality on alternatives to landfill disposal of alkaline batteries.


How to Identify What Type of Battery You Have


The majority of newer batteries are labeled with the battery type or name. This information is usually stated on the side of the battery.  The battery should be managed as “Hazardous” and processed through Environmental Health & Radiation Safety (EHRS) if you are unsure or unable to identify the battery type or name.  


Types of Batteries



Alkaline Batteries are commonly referred to as disposable or non-rechargeable batteries.  Alkaline batteries usually come in sizes such as AAA, AA, C, D and 9-volt. Alkaline batteries are typically found in electronics and flashlights.  Alkaline batteries are not required by federal legislation to be recycled, even though some states have legislated recycling for alkaline batteries.  Currently, Pennsylvania does not have legislation requiring recycling of alkaline batteries and Temple University does not recycle alkaline batteries.   EHRS does not currently collect alkaline batteries.

Temple University Health System (TUHS) entities should contact EHRS at 215-707-2520 for additional site specific information.



Lead Acid- (Pb)

Lead acid batteries destined for disposal are considered hazardous due to the lead content and corrosive nature of the acid inside the battery.  These batteries come in various sizes and shapes and are most commonly found in cell phones (older versions), camcorders, power tools, medical equipment, battery backup systems/UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), and in motorized vehicles such as automobiles or golf carts.  

Lead Acid- (Pb) -- Large Automotive

Automotive batteries should be exchanged whenever you purchase a replacement battery. Please coordinate with the supplier/vendor prior to purchasing.  Batteries being immediately exchanged do not require a Universal Waste label.

Nickel-Cadmium  (Ni-cd)

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) is perhaps the most common rechargeable battery encountered. These batteries are considered hazardous due to their cadmium (Heavy Metal) content. Ni-Cd batteries come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes and are found in cellular phones, medical equipment, power tools and rechargeable flashlights.

Button Cell Batteries

Button batteries are considered hazardous because they often contain mercury, silver or lithium. These batteries are often found in watches, calculators, hearing aids and other small electronic devices.


There are many different types of batteries that you may encounter and the majority of them are considered hazardous due to their chemical make up.   Please handle any battery that you are unable to identify if or are unsure of its chemical composition as hazardous.

Examples include but not limited to:


  • Zinc Air ( used in  hearing aids and older cameras)
  • Nickel Iron ( used in backup systems )
  • Nickel Metal Hydride ( rechargeable battery used in electronics)
  • Mercury or Mercuric oxide (small electronic devices such as pacemakers and hearing aids)
  • Silver Oxide (electronics)
  • Lithium* ,Lithium Ion* or Lithium Hydride* ( used in electronic medical devices, toys ,and small portable electronic devices)
  • Magnesium*

*Note: Batteries require additional safety precautions. Please contact EHRS immediately at 215-707-2520.


Equipment Containing a Non-Removal Rechargeable or Non-Rechargeable Battery


Any piece of equipment must be handled as hazardous if it contains a battery that is not capable of being removed.  Please contact EHRS at 215-707-2520 so that arrangements can be made to evaluate the piece of equipment.



Any employee who handles used batteries containing hazardous materials is required to have initial and annual refresher chemical waste training. All new employees are required to have their initial training within 30 days of their initial employment date.  Please visit the EHRS training page or contact the Training Program Coordinator at 215-707-2520 for additional information.


Damaged/Leaking Batteries

The following steps must be taken if a used battery shows evidence of leakage, spillage, or damage.


  • Immediately contact Environmental Health & Radiation Safety at 215-707-2520 or contact the Page Operator at 215-707-4545 after normal business hours and ask to speak with the EHRS staff member on call.  
  • If possible, contain the battery leak and put on pair of leather protective gloves and immediately place the battery into a sealable container or sturdy plastic bag.
  • Do not store damaged/leaking batteries with undamaged batteries.


Multiple or Large Sized Batteries

Contact EHRS at 215-707-2520 if you will have large batteries or multiple (greater than 10) batteries for disposal.  Please make arrangements for their safe disposal prior to generating.

Storage Locations

All areas intended for the drop off or the storage of batteries must be approved and registered with EHRS.  Areas where you are generating the batteries are not considered a storage location. Please contact EHRS at 215-707-2520 for information and regulatory requirements for a storage location.


It is the individuals department’s responsibility for supplying labels, collection containers, pallets or secondary containment if the type (s) or size(s) needed are not available through EHRS.  All items must meet the regulatory requirements as specified by the EPA and DOT.  Please contact EHRS at 215-707-2520 for guidance.


Disposal Instructions

  • Contact the manufacturer, place of purchase or supplier and determine if they have a trade in or return program in place.  Large lead acid or automotive batteries are often traded in when purchasing a new battery.
  • Individual batteries must be placed into plastic bags or non-conductive electrical tape must be placed over the terminals.
  • Do not mix different types of batteries together. This can result in fire, explosion or the release of a hazardous material into the environment.
  • Do not collect damaged or leaking batteries with undamaged batteries. See section above on Damaged/Leaking batteries.
  • Properly label your battery as:
    • Universal Waste:__________(battery type)
    • Example: Universal Waste: Lead Acid Battery
  • Request a Pick up from your location or drop off your battery at a designated drop off location:
    • Request a pickup-Complete a Pickup Request Form under the Chemical Waste section and submit electronically( E-mail request) or fax to 2-1600


  • Office Staff Only: In addition to the pickup request form, you can go to one of the two designated drop off locations during normal business hours:
Main CampusHealth Science Campus
Office of SustainabilityEnvironmental Health & Radiation Safety
Mitten Hall (Lower Level)Pharmacy-Allied Health Building Room B-49
1913 N. Broad Street3307 N. Broad Street

    Contact EHRS

    Phone: 2-2520 or 215-707-2520 (off campus)