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Under Florida law, it is illegal to discard nickel-cadmium or small sealed lead acid rechargeable batteries or products containing such rechargeable batteries in the trash. The batteries must be recycled or sent to a facility permitted to dispose of those batteries. This prohibition applies to every resident as well as every business, institutional, government, industrial, commercial, communications or medical facility in the state.

Florida lawmakers passed the prohibition because of growing concern over the effects of the toxic heavy metals cadmium and lead on public health and the environment. Cadmium and lead can enter the environment from several sources including solid waste landfills and municipal waste combustors. Once in the environment both can accumulate in food crops and edible fish as well as appear in drinking water and the air we breathe. In humans and animals, long term exposure to these metals can result in brain, lung and kidney damage and is suspected to cause cancer. Lead exposure is especially harmful to unborn and very young children and can result in premature birth, slow growth and decreased intelligence.

This current ban enhances the existing solid waste disposal ban on vehicular (car, truck, boat) lead-acid batteries in effect since January of 1989. A similar disposal ban on mercuric oxide batteries has been in effect since January of 1994. The DEP estimates that without this new comprehensive ban on the disposal of rechargeable batteries more than 100 tons of cadmium and 400 tons of lead could be disposed of in the trash each year as a result of Floridians discarding rechargeable batteries.

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Homeowner's Guide to Battery Recycling and Disposal

Confused about all the types and sizes of batteries? This guidance explains how to properly dispose of various batteries commonly used around the home.

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Last updated: November 04, 2016

Permitting and Compliance Assistance Program #850-245-8705 MS #4550


Division of Waste Management #850-245-8705 MS #4500
2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400

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