Ok, I am confused, what is a lithium battery and why can't you just toss them in the trash when they have reached the end of their life. What makes this type of battery special, more special than the one that you put into the radio or the flashlight? Or is it the same type? See, confusing!

Plus, since you can't just toss these particular batteries in the trash, what do you do with them?

What is a lithium battery and where are they used?

Photo by Newpowa on Unsplash
Photo by Newpowa on Unsplash

A lithium battery is one that is, according to energy.gov, light weight and (saving us all of the confusing info) is one that can be charged and recharged an enormous number of times. You will find this type of battery in items that can be recharged on a regular basis (very frequent basis) including cell phones, back-up batteries, electric cars (EV's), and e-bikes.

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READ MORE: Ways New Yorkers Make Cell Phone Batteries Last Longer

Is this battery different than one that you might put in the smoke detector?

Photo by Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash
Photo by Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash

Yes, the smoke detector or batteries that are identified as regular household batteries, those are alkaline batteries. The lithium batteries are great (we won't get into the cost on the environment) except for one major flaw, they conduct heat, and can occasionally catch on fire.

Read More Lithium Batteries Don’t Go in Your Trash in New York

The household batteries that are the smoke detector kind are not as flammable as the lithium rechargeable ones. This is one of the reasons that lithium ones need to be recycled and not just tossed in the trash. Bomb anyone? There are also components of the battery that can individually be recycled like the lithium.

Still not sure what the difference is? Can it be tossed or not? Look at the battery. If you see a circle with a line through it symbol on it, don't take a chance take it to a recycling location near you. Click here for recycling locations. 

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