Over the years, the laptop computer has become more advanced and the efficiency and functionality have improved. Early laptop batteries did not hold a charge for very long and did not have a very long lifespan.
But as consumers upgrade to newer and faster laptop models, what should be done with the old laptop batteries? The good news is that every part of the laptop computer is recyclable. Instead of throwing your old electronics into the household waste causing possible environmental issues, look into ways to recycle it.
Laptop Battery History
In the early 1980s, laptops were powered by the common AA batteries. As you may imagine, they did not have a long life and required constant replacement. This was expensive and the multiple batteries required to power the laptop made for a very heavy laptop.
The first lead-acid rechargeable battery emerged in the late 1980s. This battery was still quite heavy and did not hold a charge for any great length of time.
By the 1990s, the lower-cost nickel cadmium batteries arrived followed by nickel metal hydride batteries. These had to be completely drained before they could be recharged and there were issues with the memory.
Batteries have been noted as household hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They need to be disposed of separately from regular household waste. Laptop batteries that end up in a landfill will contaminate the soil and groundwater.
California requires batteries of all chemistries to be recycled. Minnesota, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Puerto Rico, and Florida have rechargeable battery recycling laws for batteries of multiple chemistries, such as nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, or lithium ion.
Call2Recycle is an organization that is devoted to the recycling of rechargeable batteries, and is operated by the non-profit organization RBRC. By visiting the Call2Recycle website, you can find the nearest of 30,000 locations where you can take your electronics to be recycled. Call2Recycle is funded by product manufacturers worldwide that have committed to reducing the amount of e-waste by recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones.
Battery Solutions provides cost-effective fully-managed battery-recycling kits, systems, and services to corporations, governments, municipalities, and households across the country to serve environmentally conscious individuals and businesses and satisfy compliance with government regulations.
Many manufacturers also have their own recycling and reuse programs: Apple, Dell, HP, Acer, Toshiba, Gateway, Lenovo, Sony, Panasonic, and IBM. You can ship your laptop batteries (and even a laptop in its entirety) directly to these manufacturers for recycling. In some cases, the manufacturer will offer a credit for purchase of new products, should there still be a value attached to the equipment you are sending in. Check the company websites for more information.
Maximizing the life of your laptop rechargeable battery will not only efficiently maintain your laptop for a longer period of time, but will prevent an overabundance of laptop batteries from entering the cycle of e-waste far too soon.