Disposal & Recycling Lithium Batteries

Local Options for Disposal / Recycling

We recommend checking out our local council website for your nearest recycling centre. 

Unsure who your local council is?

Most councils have facilities for recycling batteries at your local household recycling centre or tip . If you can’t see anything obvious, laptops and mobile phones typically contain lithium batteries, so cells might be able to be disposed of with those materials, but check with your council first.

Consumer NZ have a great site with a useful table on who does and does not accept cells.

End of life processing for Lithium Ion batteries

After a lithium-ion battery has been used up, extra care must be taken with how it is handled. Negative consequences can result if batteries are handled inappropriately, such as fire and pollution.

How do you recognise a lithium-ion battery? The identification mark li-ion appears on every lithium-ion battery. This can either be etched into the material or applied to the battery through a sticker.


  • Before attempting any additional material recovery, be sure all batteries have been removed and are being kept separate.
  • If the batteries cannot be easily separated, seek the services of a specialist to remove them, and ensure that the location where the specialised processing takes place has the necessary permits.
  • Prevent short circuits by insulating battery terminals and wires.
  • If using barrels or cartons, pack the batteries according to UN regulations. Layer them with dry sand (for lithium-ion), or vermiculite to separate them (for other battery types)
  • When it comes to broken parcels, use the UN-approved barrel technique, and make sure to wrap any batteries that leak or swell up tightly in plastic.


  • Dispose of li-ion batteries with โ€˜regularโ€™ refuse.
  • Crush, puncture, or otherwise abuse the batteries in a way that increases the risk of electrodes coming into contact and causing a short circuit.
  • Combine batteries that have been damaged with those that have not been damaged.
  • A greater risk of fire results from grouping large numbers of batteries without sufficient separation.
  • Use batteries or battery-containing products in processes that aren’t intended for them.
  • Discarded li-ion batteries should be kept indoors since they provide a fire hazard due to the possibility of short circuiting.

Why can't lithium-ion batteries be thrown away with regular chemical or industrial waste?

There are numerous compounds in lithium-ion batteries (also known as li-ion batteries). Poor disposal has serious ramifications, such as pollution of the environment and waste (of resources).

When it comes to lithium, it’s either too reactive or too tough to manage. Exothermic reaction – a chemical process that releases energy through light or heat โ€“ in the battery can be caused by influences such as high temperatures, an excessive charging voltage, a short circuit, or even an excessive amount of strain. In a nutshell, it’s flammable and may spread quickly. Because of this, airlines do not allow customers to check spare lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries.

A thin polypropylene film separates the electrodes in Li-ion batteries, helping to keep them from short-circuiting. Battery short-circuits occur when the separator between the positive and negative components is broken if a gadget is crushed or damaged. The stronger the heat response is, the bigger the battery is. A discarded battery could inadvertently burn nearby combustible substances if left in this manner. Particularly if a huge number of lithium-ion batteries are gathered, where even a single one could catch fire.