Damaged, Defective and Recalled Batteries

Do you have a battery or cellphone that is swollen, corroded, leaking or showing burn marks? Or has been recalled by the manufacturer?

These situations are becoming more common as consumer devices rely on smaller but more powerful batteries. And damaged lithium metal or lithium ion batteries are specially regulated by U.S. DOT.

Call2Recycle requires all damaged, defective or recalled (DDR) rechargeable battery types to be managed carefully. If DDR batteries are shipped without proper protection, they are more likely to cause safety incidents, such as sparks that can turn into a fire at collection sites or at shipping facilities.

Under program guidelines, these batteries cannot be placed in a regular Call2Recycle box or a normal container. The U.S. DOT also requires a special handling and shipping process for most DDR lithium-based batteries.

Call2Recycle offers a recycling service that meets the U.S. DOT packaging, handling and transportation requirements under a special permit granted by the federal government. The service provides the appropriate solution based on the battery type and applicable shipping requirements. We also provide services for defective and recalled batteries when, for example, a manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission have identified a performance or safety issue and the battery needs to be safely transported.

If you think you have a damaged, defective or recalled battery, contact Call2Recycle Customer Service, who will discuss the appropriate solution. You can read more about our battery recycling services below.

Handling Batteries

Damaged, defective and recalled batteries are hazardous and require special handling. Do not place them in the trash as they could cause a fire in the garbage truck or at a collection site. Call2Recycle’s recommendations for proper disposal vary, depending on your situation:

Consumers:  Place the battery or device in a non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter as soon as possible. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission or manufacturer web site or visit the retailer you purchased it from to see if the battery or device has been recalled. If it has, follow the instructions.

As an alternative, place the battery or device (one per bag) in a clear plastic bag and take it to your municipal household hazardous waste (HHW) recycling center. You can also contact a local Call2Recycle drop-off site to see if it accepts damaged batteries. Do not place them in the trash for any reason.

Municipalities: Do not place these batteries or devices in your regular Call2Recycle collection container (box or drum). Follow the internal procedures for the handling of household hazardous waste (HHW). If a HHW service is unavailable, contact Call2Recycle Customer Service to discuss our battery recycling service. Place the battery or device in a non-flammable substance such as sand or kitty litter in the short term.

Retailers: Do not place these batteries or devices in your regular Call2Recycle collection box, where they could cause a safety incident, such as a spark or fire. Instead, follow your company’s procedures for the handling of household hazardous waste (HHW). If you do not have an internal HHW program, call Call2Recycle Customer Service to discuss our battery recycling service. Place the battery or device in a non-flammable substance such as sand or kitty litter in the short term if needed.

Manufacturers with defective/recalled batteries: Contact Customer Service to discuss the Call2Recycle recycling service, which provides the special packaging and recycling services required by the U.S. DOT for these types of batteries or devices.

To learn more about safe battery recycling, visit our other safety resources, including our shipping guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Damaged, Defective and Recalled Batteries

What is a damaged, defective or recalled battery?

A battery that is swollen, corroded, leaking or showing burn marks is considered damaged and hazardous to the public. Devices with damaged batteries often show swelling, corrosion or other physical damage in the area the battery is located.

What is a defective battery?

Defective batteries are those that affect the performance of a device, such as unexpected shutdowns. Defective batteries may not display any visible changes but have been identified by the manufacturer as not performing as expected.

What is a recalled battery?

Recalled batteries are classified by model, serial number, batch or lot. Manufacturers recall batteries that do not performing as expected and may present a safety hazard. Recalled batteries may not display any visible damage.

What do I do with a damaged battery or device?

Package the battery or device in a non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter as soon as possible. Do not place these batteries in the trash or in a regular Call2Recycle collection container to avoid a safety hazard, such as a spark or fire. Further instructions can be found above.

Are damaged batteries usually a particular chemistry?

Most damaged batteries are lithium metal or lithium ion. If you have another battery chemistry that you think is damaged, contact Customer Service at 877.723.1297 for assistance.

What do I do with a cellphone that has overheated?

Place the cellphone in a non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter as soon as possible. Do not place the phone in the trash or in a regular Call2Recycle collection container as it may cause a safety incident, such as a spark or fire. Visit the manufacturer’s web site to see if the phone has been recalled and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disposal and replacement. Some recalled products are also listed on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Why do damaged, defective and recalled batteries require special shipping?

Damaged batteries are considered potentially hazardous to the public and the environment. If these batteries are shipped without proper packaging and handling, they are more likely to generate a safety incident, such as a spark, during transit from the collection site to the processing facility. In addition, the U.S. DOT requires hazardous materials be transported using special handling procedures.

Where can I find out if a battery has been recalled?

Visit the battery manufacturer’s web site to see if the battery has been recalled and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disposal and replacement. Some recalled products are also listed on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Who do we contact if we suspect we have a damaged, defective or recalled battery?

Contact Call2Recycle Customer Service at 877.723.1297. They can discuss whether the battery or device requires special handling according to U.S. DOT requirements.

What type of kits do you offer?

Our kits are designed to handle lithium ion or lithium metal batteries with (1) a total combined weight of up to 4.4 lbs. (2 kgs) OR one single cell or battery weighing up to 11 lbs. (5 kgs). The kits have been fully tested in a UN/ISTA certification lab and are UN-compliant with CFR49 rules governing safe battery shipments.