Recycling Old Paint and Car Batteries
By: Danny Lipford
My husband and I are big advocates for recycling. We fortunately have a recycle center nearby that we use. How or where can we get rid of old car batteries and old paint? Our recycle center doesn’t allow them and don’t have answers. We’ve been holding on to these old items and don’t know what to do with them. Any advice? -Lori
I’m glad to hear that you’re doing your part to help the environment. You are wise not to dispose of either car batteries or paint with your regular garbage, since both are considered hazardous waste.
Car batteries contain high amounts of lead and sulfuric acid and are usually collected for recycling when you buy a new one. In fact in some states there is an additional charge if you don’t turn in your old battery. While many municipal waste departments will accept car batteries, they can also be returned for recycling to most stores that sell them, such as car repair shops and auto parts stores.
Old paint should also be disposed of properly rather than pouring it out, which can not only clog your drain and contaminate groundwater but is illegal as well. If there is only a little left in the can, you may be able to leave the lid off until it hardens then dispose of it with your regular garbage. Check with your state environmental agency or city waste department first to see it this is an acceptable practice in your area.
If you have a larger amount of paint to dispose of, or don’t want to release volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the air, contact your local municipal waste department. Most will accept household hazardous waste, though their collection procedures may vary. Whether the used paint is actually recycled or sent it to a hazardous waste facility is up to the local waste department.
Check out our article Get Onboard the Recycle Cycle as well as the following articles:
- EPA Guide to Batteries
- EPA List of Household Hazardous Waste
- Information on Commonly Recycled Materials