Portland Adds Curbside Battery Recycling

Getting rid of old batteries just got a lot easier. The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) just launched a new service to collect and recycle batteries. Portlanders who live in a house, duplex, triplex, or fourplex can now recycle their batteries by putting them in a one-quart bag and setting it out with their glass recycling. 

This new service makes it easy for residents to recycle batteries and addresses a rising problem across the country: battery-caused fires at recycling and waste facilities.

“Lithium-ion battery fires, often involving e-scooters, e-bikes, and portable electronics, are a growing fire-safety concern nationwide,” said Portland Fire Marshal Kari Schimel. “These fires can start and spread quickly, emitting large amounts of toxic smoke. For these reasons, it is critical that Portlanders safely dispose of these batteries and devices containing them and do not throw them away in their trash.”

How to recycle batteries safely

Any battery that fits into a sealed, one-quart bag can be set out for curbside collection. Some batteries must be taped for safety, and all batteries must be sealed in a zip-tight, one-quart bag.

  1. Tape (some) batteries: Look for a label on the battery. If it says “alkaline”, the battery can go right into a one-quart bag with no tape needed. If you do not see “alkaline”, tape both ends of the battery with clear tape before putting it into the bag.
  2. Bag: Put all the batteries in a clear, one-quart, zip-sealed bag.
  3. Set out with glass: Place the bag of batteries in your glass recycling bin. Set it on top of the glass so the waste collection driver sees it.

Some batteries are not accepted at the curb and must be dropped off for safe disposal. Anything that makes noise, lights up, heats up, or moves, and does not plug into a wall, has a battery. This includes wireless devices, fitness bands, electric toothbrushes, cell phones, laptops, some toys, and even “singing” birthday cards. These types of items and others with batteries in them, like vape pens, e-cigarettes, and other electronics, must be dropped off for safe disposal. Call 503-234-3000 or go to www.oregonmetro.gov/askmetro for drop-off locations near you.

Batteries can spark and cause fires: Never put them in trash or mixed recycling

Battery-caused fires in garbage trucks and waste-processing facilities have increased dramatically in recent years. These fires put workers’ lives in danger and can cost millions of dollars in damage.

“While batteries are essential in our daily lives, they can pose a significant fire hazard if not handled and disposed of correctly,” explained the Portland Haulers Association. “By taking the time to dispose of your batteries properly, you are preventing fires and contributing to the overall safety of our community.”

See what happens when batteries spark, explode, and start fires at recycling and waste facilities.

Apartments and businesses: Find drop-off battery recycling options near you

If you live in an apartment or have batteries at your workplace, you can find battery recycling drop-off or mail-in options by contacting Metro’s Recycling Information Center Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 503-234-3000 or by visiting their website: www.oregonmetro.gov/askmetro

Learn more about curbside battery collection

Portlanders seeking more information about this new program can visit www.portland.gov/batteries.

Those who live outside of city limits can look at their city or county’s website to see if battery-collection services are available in their area. Many collection services in the greater Portland area offer residential curbside battery collection including Clackamas County, much of Washington County, and Gresham.

Source: City of Portland

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