Ask Drone Girl: How to dispose of LiPo batteries

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about LiPo batteries. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Hello Drone Girl,

I just read your article about the 15 things to know about LiPo battery care. There does not seem to be any good information on how to properly dispose of LiPo batteries. I have a puffy battery, and no idea what to do with it. Is there any good information out there to responsibly dispose of these batteries? I would imagine this will be a growing/ongoing problem as more and more drones are sold.

-Brian

Hey Brian,

That’s a great question, and I’m glad you asked! A LiPo battery (technically a lithium-ion polymer battery) can be very dangerous and needs to be disposed of correctly.

DO NOT throw them in your trashcan alongside the pizza boxes!

In the event of temperature extremes, or the LiPo being crushed or penetrated by something like a nail, your battery you threw away could end up rupturing, the electrolytes may leak and it could result in a fire.

First off, make sure that batteries in your home are stored correctly. It’s ALWAYS worth investing in an (under $10) explosion-proof LiPo bag.

Now onto disposing…

If you are disposing of a battery that is simply old or unwanted, Call2Recycle has hundreds or recycling locations around the country.

“The Call2Recycle program accepts lithium ion batteries that weigh 11 lbs or less each,” a spokesperson told me. “Lithium polymer batteries are a variation of li-ion, so we would be able to accept them.”

You can use this link to find a location near you, including many RadioShack, Home Depot and Sears retail stores. (See just how many are in San Francisco!rechargeable-battery-cellphone-dropoff-locations-call2recycle-united-states

However, Call2Recycle does not take batteries that are damaged (bulging, swollen, hot, leaking), defective or recalled. In your case, since your battery is damaged, contact your local e-waste center to dispose of hazardous materials.

In San Francisco, you can dispose of up to 30 electronic items for free (each additional item is $1.50 per piece). Most local e-waste centers offer to either collect the items from you, or allow for dropoff at the center.

Happy flying, and recycling!

 

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