SAN ANTONIO - From our toothbrushes to our remote controls, just about everything we touch, it seems, is powered by battery.
But it's not always clear what to do with the batteries when they die.
"Ideally, you shouldn't toss them into the garbage," said Consumer Reports Chief Science Officer James Dickerson.
In some places, it's illegal to throw batteries in the trash.
Whether it's your standard alkaline AA, a rechargeable cellphone battery, or the battery from your car, there are responsible ways to dispose of them.
Why should you? Most batteries contain toxic chemicals like cadmium, lead, lithium or sulfuric acid.
"Batteries can leak, get into the ecosystem and into the groundwater," Dickerson said.
Old batteries may not generate enough energy to power a device, but they can still spark a fire if not handled carefully.
Dickerson said you should store them in a secure container that keeps them lined up side by side so the contact points don't touch or brush up against anything that's metallic or conductive.
Another suggestion is to put tape on both ends so you don't have any currents coming from the batteries. Putting them back into the container they came in is another option.
Many businesses have battery recycling programs. Stores such as Best Buy, Lowe's and Staples will take certain batteries, as well.
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