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Battery Recycling Program

In 2012, Durham Region initiated a one-year curbside battery recycling pilot program. The pilot consisted of two curbside collection services – one in November 2012 and another in March 2013.

Based on the success of the pilot program, Regional Council adopted this waste diversion program and made it permanent on September 18, 2013.

Battery Bags

In addition to providing residents with a more convenient and accessible option for proper household battery disposal, the program aims to eliminate mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals from being dispersed into the environment.

Instead, they are actively managed in Ontario and recycled responsibly through proper processing and conservation of valuable resources. Collected batteries are sent to Raw Materials Company where zinc, manganese, potassium and steel are recovered and recycled safely.

Today, more than thirty (30) Ontario communities are now offering and/or planning to offer this convenient collection option for spent batteries to their residents.

Level of Service

Durham's household battery collection program is provided twice annually; once in the spring and once in the fall coinciding with Earth Week celebrations and the autumn Fire Department's promotion to change smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

Curbside Battery Collection Schedule

  • April 20 to 24, 2015
    On your regular blue box collection day
  • November 2 to 6, 2015
    On your regular blue box collection day
  • April 18 to 22, 2016
    On your regular blue box collection day
  • November 7 to 11, 2016
    On your regular blue box collection day

Note: These are special one-week collection periods. Please do not place household batteries in your blue box, or garbage at any other time. If you miss the collection dates or do not receive curbside blue box collection, visit the Regional Waste Management Facility page or our Community Events page for a recycling location and/or collection events near you.

Curbside Collection Results

Durham's household battery collection program is convenient and accessible for our residents. The success of our diversion programs is based on the commitment of our residents to actively participate in our waste diversion programs.

The following tracking table indicates the success of the program since our first collection in the fall of 2012:

Year Season Collection Period Net Weight (Tonnes) Net Weight (Kilograms) Total Tonnes Collected To Date
2012 Fall November 12 to 16 22.46 22,462 22.46
2013 Spring March 18 to 22 13.71 13,709 36.17
2013 Fall November 4 to 8 10.19 10,191 46.36
2014 Spring April 21 to 25 14.04 14,037 60.40
2014 Fall November 3 to 7 18.04 18,040 78.44
2015 Spring April 20 to 24 16.40 16,400 94.84
2015 Fall November 2 to 6 Pending Pending Pending
2016 Spring April 18 to 22 Pending Pending Pending
2016 Fall November 7 to 11 Pending Pending Pending

Collection Bag Instructions and Labelling

Residents use their own, sealable, transparent bags to participate in the curbside battery collection program.

Orange labels with instructions on how to participate in the program are included in the annual waste management calendar.

Residents may also download and print the below label before inserting it inside their sealable, transparent bag for collection.

Battery Collection Label
Click here for printable image

Setting out Household Batteries

Batteries set out for collection

To easily identify the collection bags, and not allow them to get mixed into the regular Blue Box recycling stream, residents are asked to place battery collection bags on top of their paper fibre container to reduce the risk of batteries getting lost amongst the container stream.

Safe Storage

Batteries should be stored in a cool, dry location, away from any flammable material. During storage, battery terminals should not be in contact with conductive materials. The terminals on nine volt batteries, in particular, should be covered prior to storage. For more information about preparing batteries for recycling please visit http://www.rawmaterials.com/page/education/prepare-batteries.

Battery Types Accepted

  • Standard A, AA, AAA, C, D batteries (both alkaline and "heavy duty")
  • 6-volt (often used in lantern batteries)
  • 9-volt batteries (often used in smoke alarms)
  • Button cells (typically used in watches, toys, electronics, greeting cards, calculators)
  • Rechargeable battery packs - NiCad, NiMH, or Lithium Ion (typically used in laptop computers, cellular phones, power tools, etc.)

Due to regulatory requirements, only undamaged, single use, dry cell batteries are acceptable for curbside collection. Residents with damaged, leaking or wet cell batteries (such as automotive), should place the batteries in a leak-proof container and deliver them to a Regional Waste Management Facility for recycling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I recycle batteries?

Battery recycling is important to reduce soil contamination and water pollution, which can occur if these products are improperly disposed.  Batteries also contain valuable commodities that can be effectively recycled, reducing demand for virgin metals.

What kinds of batteries are accepted for the curbside collection?

  • Standard A, AA, AAA, C, D batteries (both alkaline and "heavy duty")
  • 6-volt (often used in lantern batteries)
  • 9-volt batteries (often used in smoke alarms)
  • Button cells (typically used in watches, toys, electronics, greeting cards, calculators)
  • Rechargeable battery packs - NiCad, NiMH, or Lithium Ion (typically used in laptop computers, cellular phones, power tools, etc.)

What kinds of batteries are not accepted?

  • Automotive batteries
  • Industrial batteries
  • Leaking batteries

These batteries are accepted at any Regional Waste Management Facility

How do I store my batteries?

Batteries should be stored in a cool, dry location, away from any flammable material, prior to disposal. During storage, battery terminals should not be in contact with conductive materials. The terminals on nine volt batteries, in particular, should be covered prior to storage. For more information about preparing batteries for recycling please visit http://www.rawmaterials.com/page/education/prepare-batteries.

Is this curbside program available to residents living in apartment buildings?

Yes, Durham Region operates a multi-residential battery recycling program in some buildings that receive municipal waste collection services. For more information, visit the Apartment and Townhouse Recycling Program page.

Alternately, residents are encouraged to visit www.makethedrop.ca to find the nearest battery recycling drop off location.

What happens to the batteries after they are collected?

All batteries received by Raw Materials Company Inc.'s (RMC) processing facility in Port Colborne, Ontario are sorted by type and then recycled to recover reusable components including metal, carbon, manganese, and other commodities. For example, zinc and manganese recovered from the battery are used as ingredients in a micronutrient fertilizer, which helps increase corn crop production.

RMC, an international leader in the field of waste and resource recycling, are the only approved battery processor for Ontario's Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste Program. RMC's battery recycling technology is capable of recycling and recovering up to 92 per cent of the components found in spent household batteries.

Guinness World Records® Award

Guiness Record

To raise awareness, participation and to maximize the “buzz” surrounding Durham’s new battery collection program, Durham Region contacted Guinness World Records® to inquire if a record exists for the most batteries collected. 

Guinness World Records® advised that the current record for the most batteries collected in a 24-hour period at a single location, was 181 kilograms (400 lbs 14 oz). With this information, Durham planned its own record breaking attempt for Thursday, November 15, 2012.

Durham’s Guinness World Records® official claim was for 5,090 kilograms (11,221 lbs 8 oz) which is the gross weight of batteries; 5,120 kilograms (11,287.7 lbs) less the weight of the zip-lock bags; 30 kilograms (66.1 lbs).

On February 2, 2013, Guinness World Records® confirmed that the Regional Municipality of Durham is now the official holder of the world record for the Most Batteries Collected in 24 Hours at One Location.