What to do with all those old batteries?

Keep Batteries Out of Bins!

Batteries and products that contain batteries cannot be disposed of in trash or recycling bins. Batteries that enter are waste stream pose a significant safety threat because they are responsible for rising occurrences of fires and environmental contamination. 

Batteries are considered as hazardous wastes under the category of universal wastes in California because of the materials they are made from. Acids, lead, nickel, lithium and mercury to name a few are dangerous and toxic. When batteries are subjected to the heat, pressure, an machinery of a garbage or recycling truck or become punctured or pierced by waste sorting machinery, they can spark and ignite a fire. 

Additionally, the dangerous and toxic components of batteries will leach into the environment when not disposed of properly. This not only contaminates the soil and water systems, but have the potential to affect our health and well-being through accumulation in wildlife and the food we eat.


AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, rechargeable batteries, single batteries, car batteries, motorcycle batteries, scooter batteries, e-cigarette and vape batteries.


Battery Recycling is becoming increasingly more safe, convenient and accessible. On September 19, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the Responsible Battery Recycle Act of 2022 and Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003: covered battery-embedded products. When in effect, these two laws will increase the number of battery collection sites throughout California. 

Here’s where you can recycle batteries in San Diego: 

  • Libraries: 14 county libraries in San Diego accept standard alkaline batteries, drop them off in the drop-off bin inside
  • O’Reilly’s Auto Parts Store: Most O’Reilly’s recycle household batteries as well as lead acid automotive batteries. Remember to call before you go to make sure your local O’Reilly’s are accepting batteries for recycling
  • Many electronic stores in San Diego can take batteries for recycling. Visit WasteFreeSD.org to find a store near you
  • Household Hazardous Waste Facilities: Hazardous waste facilities accept all types of batteries. Always bring damaged batteries to HHW facilities. Visit WasteFreeSD.org to find out which facility you can go to
  • The Big Green Box: An easy and convenient 3-step process to dispose of all types of batteries (excluding automotive batteries) – purchase a box, fill the box, ship the box. The company Retriev Technologies then uses a diverse array of technologies to ensure each battery component is recovered in the most environmentally sound way possible
  • Battery Solutions: Similar to The Big Green Box – purchase a box, fill the box, ship the box. They offer different container sizes to suit the needs of not only regular households but industries as well



  • Store household batteries in their original packaging so they are out of contact with other batteries. 
  • Make sure the batteries are stored with all the positive ends facing the same direction. 
  • Avoid storing batteries with metal objects because contact can cause batteries to short circuit and lead to leakage. 
  • Do not ever mix damaged batteries with other batteries. This again could result in short circuiting and cause fires or worse explosions. 
  • If batteries are leaking, handle them with care by wearing gloves, then place them in a clear plastic bag to be transported to your local hazardous waste collection facility. 
  • For  extra step safety, you could place the bag in non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter.

Gleaning in San Diego

40% of what we discard in our landfills is organic waste including green waste from our gardens and wasted food and kitchen scraps. Food is wasted and discarded of in large quantities, and yet 1 in 3 people in San Diego County is nutrition insecure (1). Food insecurity in San Diego county has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic leading to 28% of San Diegan experiencing food insecurity were newly nutrition insecure and 72% were already facing challenges prior to the pandemic (1).

Many people are unfamiliar with gleaning, but it has actually existed as a form of community aide for more than 2,000 years. Gleaning is defined gathering leftover grain or produce after a harvest. Since the 18th century, gleaning was an essential part of food security for community members in need. In the present day, it is now used as a food waste recovery practice in order to prevent crops and produce from rotting in fields or going to waste.

Whether it is donating your excess produce for picking or volunteering as a gleaner, there are many gleaning organizations that you can join in San Diego in order to contribute towards food sustainability and increased food security. See below for a list of gleaning organizations, you can also find more information on WasteFreeSD.org!

Backyard Produce Project
Whether it is donating your excess produce for picking or volunteering as a gleaner, there are many gleaning organizations that you can join in San Diego in order to contribute towards food sustainability and increased food security. See below for a list of gleaning organizations, you can also find more information on WasteFreeSD.org!

Harvest San Diego
A local food program that connects fruit tree owners in central San Diego with volunteer gleaners and donate the produce to those in need.

Produce Good
Produce Good is a non-profit organization that was created to finding sustainable solutions to alleviate hunger and repurpose waste. Its flagship program is CropSwap, where i t provides different types of backyard and small farm harvesting activities for people to participate in. Examples include Big Picks, Quick Picks, First Pick and Bumper Crop Small Farm Harvesting.

Senior Gleaners
Senior gleaners are volunteers above the age of 55 who harvest excess food from fields, backyards and stores. They then donate the food to local agencies that feed the hungry and poor
if you see a need in your neighborhood and want to take action or want to learn more about gleaning check out the USDA’s toolkit to help.

International Coastal Cleanup Day 2022: San Diego County’s Largest Environmental Cleanup Returns In-Person on September 17

International Coastal Cleanup Day 2022: San Diego County’s Largest Environmental Cleanup Returns In-Person on September 17

Online volunteer registration with cleanup sites across the county opens September 1, 2022 at CleanupDay.org.  

SAN DIEGO COUNTY (September 1, 2022) – International Coastal Cleanup Day returns to San Diego County for its 38th edition on Saturday, September 17, 2022. I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) is the San Diego host for the international coastal cleanup and will be joining many U.S. states, territories, and more than 90 countries across the world. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., San Diego County volunteers will join nearly one million volunteers worldwide in the removal of pollution from our connected ecosystems. Volunteers of all ages and across the region are invited to register beginning on September 1. Learn more at the official San Diego Coastal Cleanup Day website CleanupDay.org.

This year’s edition of Coastal Cleanup Day will include close to 70 cleanup sites located throughout the county at both inland and coastal areas. Inland community participation is especially encouraged as nearly 80 percent of all marine debris originates in these areas. Last year, over 2,470 volunteers came together at over 100 sites throughout the region.

“This is easily the biggest coastal cleanup of the year with thousands of San Diego County residents working collaboratively to help preserve and protect the place we all call home,” said Steve Morris, Executive Director at I Love A Clean San Diego. “By proactively removing trash and other debris through major cleanups like this, we can prevent pollution from entering our storm water systems and flowing untreated into local waterways and the ocean.”

Produced by I Love A Clean San Diego for the region, and in cooperation with the California Coastal Commission, Ocean Conservancy, and Think Blue, the event has hosted over 269,000 volunteers countywide who have removed over 5.4 million pounds of litter and debris from local communities since its inception in 1985. In addition to removing litter, volunteers will compile litter totals from their site to capture the impact in San Diego and contribute to the worldwide total.

Think Blue San Diego is a longtime partner of I Love A Clean San Diego and presenting sponsor of Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego. As the public outreach and educational arm of the city of San Diego’s Stormwater Department, Think Blue’s mission is directly aligned with Coastal Cleanup Day to protect the city’s waterways from litter and pollution, and ensure clean water and clean beaches.

“San Diego is defined by the natural beauty of its beaches and coastal waters, and keeping those precious resources clean, safe and healthy is a passion that Think Blue and I Love A Clean San Diego share,” said Bethany Bezak, Interim Director of the City of San Diego’s Stormwater Department. “Collaborative cleanups like this help beautify our region, and they also serve as a reminder that we can all ‘Think Blue’ by taking simple actions every day – from picking up pet waste to not overwatering lawns – that will improve the quality of life for everyone around us.”

To help expand the countywide experience, volunteers are encouraged to contribute to the cleanup’s impact through Facebook and Instagram by sharing images and videos showing themselves in action as they beautify their community. #ILoveACleanSD @ILoveACleanSD #CCD2022

Top 10 Items Collected Around the World on Coastal Cleanup Day 2021

  1. Cigarette Butts 964,521
  2. Plastic Beverage Bottles 627,014
  3. Food Wrappers (candy, chips, etc.) 573,534
  4. Clean Swell (clothing, metal pieces, etc.) 519,438
  5. Plastic Bottle Caps 409,855
  6. Plastic Grocery Bags 272,399
  7. Straws, Stirrers 224,170
  8. Plastic Take Out/Away Containers 222,289
  9. Beverage Cans 162,750
  10. Glass Beverage Bottles 146,255

Source: OceanConservancy.org

Supporting partners of Coastal Cleanup Day
Think Blue, County of San Diego and its Watershed Protection Program, San Diego Gas & Electric, Bank of America, Cox Communications, Northrop Grumman, The Bumble Bee Seafood Company, 22nd District Agricultural Association, Illumina, Project Clean Water, Sempra, Wells Fargo, Wheelhouse Credit Union,  CBS News 8, City of La Mesa, City of Imperial Beach, San Diego Regional Airport Authority, Sycuan, California Coastal Commission, and Ocean Conservancy.

About Coastal Cleanup Day
I Love A Clean San Diego has been the official organizer of Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County since it was founded in 1985. The event is a major part of International Coastal Cleanup Day and includes many U.S. states and territories, and over 90 countries. Each year the event attracts nearly one million volunteers globally and about 6,000 throughout San Diego County who prevent ocean pollution from our connected ecosystems. International Coastal Cleanup was founded by the Ocean Conservancy and is coordinated in California by the California Coastal Commission.

About I Love A Clean San Diego County
Founded in 1954, I Love A Clean San Diego is an environmental nonprofit supporting residents and businesses of San Diego County through youth and adult education, and local action through impactful volunteer events and workshops. As San Diego’s most influential advocate for sustainability, I Love A Clean San Diego’s programs are an environmental catalyst, awakening passion and inspiring action to empower everyone to be leaders in conservation and waste-free living. Our community is passion in action to maintain and improve the health of the home we love. For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit CleanSD.org or call (619) 291-0103. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn