How to Get Rid of an Old Phone Battery

How to Get Rid of an Old Phone Battery

If you are reading this, chances are it is from a cell phone. All modern cell phones use batteries that are either lithium-polymer or lithium-ion.

Do not throw away a phone battery in the trash. The best course of action is to take it to Best Buy, Staples, Lowes, Home Depot, or another retailer that accepts used batteries. You can also sell old cell phones that still work for a decent profit.

Also, the vast majority of new phones have non-removable batteries, making them very hard to recycle or change. If you are throwing away an old phone, you are also throwing away your battery along with it.

Hazard to The Environment

You need to be careful when you are throwing away a phone battery or cell phone, as it is not even remotely similar to your usual trash. Here are some reasons why you should never throw away your phone battery in your regular trash as well as how to dispose of it properly.

What Type of Battery is Used in Smart Phones?
Modern smartphones use Lithium-ion batteries that are calibrated to work best at room temperature.

Some States prohibit throwing away cell phones and batteries in the regular trash. That is because batteries can be considered hazardous waste. Old batteries, especially those with some juice left in them, can be extremely dangerous. If a battery is punctured, it will spontaneously combust, explode, or create a spark.

How to Get Rid of an Old Phone Battery

In regular trash, many things can puncture or bend the battery. This will cause the battery’s inner layers to touch, which in turn will create a fire hazard. If the trash is especially dry, the battery can cause everything to go up in flames. And all that from just one battery or cell phone.

The fire hazard is a serious one at that, as it can ignite everything around it. Imagine you throw away an old cell phone battery in your kitchen trash can that sits on a cozy fuzzy rug made out of synthetic wool.

What Happens When Your Battery is Fully Discharges?
Discharging a battery all the way down can cause chemical reactions that over time can shorten a battery’s life.

The next thing you know, your entire kitchen goes up in flames as the firefighters are trying to save the rest of your house. This is an enormous exaggeration, but it is not impossible either. Why would you want to risk that?

In addition to old batteries being a fire hazard, they are also harmful to the environment. Batteries contain many different materials, some of which are highly toxic metals and acids, like nickel and cadmium.

These materials can vaporize and the fumes are very dangerous to humans and animals. They can also spill onto the soil, which in turn leads to a whole range of other problems. Even if the soil is at a recycling center, the toxic materials can cause water pollution.

What to Do Instead of Throwing it Away

If you are now convinced that throwing away a cell phone battery in your regular trash can is extremely dangerous and bad for the environment, where do you dispose of it instead?

There are multiple options of how to get rid of your cell phone without even having to recycle it. If the cell phone works (or mostly works) then selling it instead of recycling it is a great idea. Plus, you will get some of your money back.

Can High Temperatures Damage a Phone Battery?
Keep your phone out of strong sun, away from window sills and off the dashboard of your car to prevent overheating, which can make the battery less efficient over time. In extreme cases, an overheated battery could explode.

Do not put your cell phone or battery in a recycling bin, unless it is labeled to be suitable for them. What you want to do with them instead is to take them to a recycling facility. You can also bring them to an electronics retailer.

Best Buy, Staples, Lowes, and Home Depot are some of the retailers that recycle batteries. This is the most eco-friendly solution, as it allows the materials to be reused, instead of creating hazards and being bad for the environment. If you must throw the battery out, at least make sure that it has no juice and put it into a plastic bag.


Phone batteries are made out of toxic materials that are very bad for the environment. The way that the battery is constructed makes it a fire hazard that can cause other combustibles to catch fire. Always check if electronics retailers in your area accept old batteries or if there is a recycling facility that deals with them.