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Lithium & Lithium Ion Batteries Must Be Taped

Madison residents recycling their household batteries at the Streets Division drop off locations will need to separate lithium and lithium ion batteries from their other batteries, and also tape the battery terminals.  This change is to comply with federal Department of Transportation regulations.
“Lithium batteries are very easy to identify,” says Bryan Johnson, the city of Madison recycling coordinator.  “These batteries are the flat, button cell variety, which are typical for watches, hearing aids, laser pointers, and other electronics.  Other lithium batteries, including camera batteries, are clearly labeled with the word ‘Lithium’ or ‘Li-ion.’”
To tape the batteries, the Streets Division recommends laying a piece of clear packing tape on a flat surface (adhesive side up).  Next, place the batteries onto the strip of tape, leaving at minimum a finger width space between each lithium battery.  Next, press another piece of clear packing tape (adhesive side down) on top of the batteries and be sure to press the tape down firmly around each battery.  This will create a strip of individually sealed batteries that will be safe to transport for recycling.  Residents could also simply tape the ends, or terminals, of each battery.
The taped lithium batteries can be recycled by city residents or taxpayers along with the traditional alkaline and rechargeable batteries at the city drop off sites at 1501 W. Badger Rd. or 4602 Sycamore Ave.  
Due to the need to keep lithium and lithium ion batteries separate and packaged, the Streets Division-supported battery drop-off locations at the Metcalfe’s markets, Willy Street Co-op, and City-County Building have ended.  “We will need to sort the batteries to check for lithium ones before we should transport them,” says Bryan Johnson, “and it will be too difficult logistically and quite time consuming to sort them at these sites. When taping lithium batteries become second nature for us, like recycling aluminum cans, we can pursue restoring the satellite locations.  But, for the time being, we can no longer provide them.”
For more information, visit or by calling 246-4532 (East) or 266-4681 (West).