Taking shortcuts is not an option when you deal with battery disposal. Our new instructional video will keep packaging on track. 

We are all about making life easy for our customers. So, we created an informative video to show a crucial step in getting battery disposal right. Yes, we’re talking about how to package batteries for transport. This is a process that cannot be left to chance. 

Something as seemingly inconsequential as using the wrong packaging materials for lithium batteries can endanger the lives of other people. Yet, lithium batteries are used in everyday devices, underscoring the need to know exactly how to handle them when the time for electronic recycling arrives. No one wants to end up like the North Carolina device company that incurred a $50,000 hazmat penalty for allegedly transporting 142 lithium-metal batteries in an employee’s checked baggage. 

The good news is it only takes a few key pieces of information to learn the best way to package batteries. In this post on battery disposal, you will learn: 

  • What packaging materials to use and what purpose they serve
  • How to package a range of common batteries, including lead acid batteries, alkaline batteries, lithium batteries, nickel metal hydride batteries, and nickel cadmium batteries 

Let’s get to it. 

To master battery disposal, you need to know how to package batteries for transport

Gathering the appropriate packaging materials

Selecting the tape

Correct packaging for battery disposal starts with using the correct materials. In the case of battery packaging, you only need two types of tape: electrical tape and packing tape. If duct tape was on your list, remove it. Duct tape as well as other types may actually be conductive and will short out the batteries. 

Selecting the container

The choice of container matters. Plastic pails or cardboard boxes work well because they are non-conductive (for that reason, anything with metal is a no-n0). We also remind customers to always check with their local transportation department since there may be additional guidelines for your packaging groups. 

How to package the most common battery types

How to package lead-acid batteries

First of all, we need to identify what kind of battery we’re about to pack. In our case, it actually says lead-acid on the top for the larger variety, while the smaller battery displays Pb, the symbol for lead. Next, we will insulate the terminals on each battery. 

  • Smaller lead acid battery: Cover both terminals with a piece of electrical tape. That way, the terminals don’t come in contact with each other when you stack them. 
  • Larger lead acid battery: Again, each terminal needs tape. Use electrical tape to go around the sides of the terminal; then, cover the top with a small piece. 
How to package alkaline batteries

Alkaline batteries have low capacity and that fact makes our job easy. For this battery disposal job, we don’t even need tape. Instead, we retrieve the container and place them inside. That’s it.    

How to package lithium batteries

Lithium-ion

Lithium-ion batteries come in many different shapes and sizes. Some have recessed terminals, a beneficial feature since it means they are protected from shorts with other batteries. Those that have exposed terminals, however, require tape. In this case, we can use a big piece of packing tape to cover them. Packing tape works well here and also allows us to read and identify the battery labels. 

Lithium-ion polymer

How do we know the battery in the video is a lithium-ion polymer? Firstly, it says so at the top. Secondly, the thin packaging is a telltale sign. For this battery, we use a piece of electrical tape to cover the terminals on the front and back. Because this packaging is so permeable, we take great care when we place it into our own packaging. 

Lithium-metal 

Here comes a good trick to insulate lithium-metal batteries. Put down a big piece of clear tape and lay it flat. Then, we lay down all our cells, fold the tape over, and insulate both sides. Mission accomplished. 

How to package nickel metal hydride batteries 

In the video, you can see we have two examples. One of them includes a label right at the top. The recessed terminal means we don’t need to tape anything. The second battery, on the other hand, might trip some of you up. It actually sits on a charging cradle. So, we need to make sure that we insulate both from the front and the back. See, how easy it is?

How to package nickel-cadmium batteries

Nickel-cadmium batteries were commonly used in power tools before lithium entered the market. As you can see, the battery is labeled NICD, which is nickel-cadmium. Although the terminals are slightly recessed, we add tape for safety’s sake. 

Final word on battery disposal

That wraps up our video — and blog post — on this crucial step of battery disposal. If we didn’t cover the battery you’re about to ship off to recycling, remember these fundamental guidelines. Insulate the terminals. Use non-conductive packaging. Again, please remember to check with your local transportation agencies for specific regulations that may apply to you. And, as always, feel free to reach out to us

contact us

Keep reading, keep learning

Read More