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New Guidelines for Campus Battery Recycling Aim to Cut Fire Risk

By Gina Federer

All batteries dropped in the university’s battery recycling bins across campus must have their metal terminals taped, the Recycling and Solid Waste Unit of Facilities Management has announced.

While most batteries can be recycled, some types, particularly lithium-ion ones, have a high risk of causing fires if disposed of improperly. Fires have occurred throughout the country in waste bins, collection trucks and processing facilities.

Since it is often difficult to differentiate one battery type from another, FM now asks members of the UMD community to fully cover battery terminals with clear tape before depositing them in the labeled brown recycling bins to reduce the risk of fires on campus. (Button-style batteries must be fully enclosed in clear tape.

Lead-acid batteries and any that are swollen, leaking, corroded or burned should not be placed in battery recycling bins. The Environmental Affairs unit of the Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability, and Risk will collect lead-acid batteries and damaged batteries separately. Email to coordinate a pickup.

Battery bin locations will be updated on the campus web map

throughout the fall semester. For questions or additional information about battery recycling, email the Recycling and Solid Waste Unit at

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