Be Battery Smart

Take Charge: Be Battery Smart logo

Be Battery Smart

Batteries are everyday essentials.

Often overlooked, however, is the simple fact that batteries can be a hidden household hazard.

If improperly installed, charged, stored, used, damaged, or disposed of, some batteries can catch fire or explode, putting your family and others at risk. If swallowed, button and coin batteries can cause injuries and death.

To address these issues, DHEC and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) developed an outreach campaign to raise awareness of safety concerns and recycling opportunities that are available and growing in number.

ISRI + DHEC logos

Here is what you need to know:

  • Do not place batteries in your household garbage or recycling cart. Lithium-ion batteries, for example, are easy to puncture and can cause fires in garbage trucks and solid waste facilities – putting those workers as well as fire fighters at risk. A 2021 study  by the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that, between 2013 and 2020, at least 245 fires at 64 solid waste facilities were caused or likely caused by lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries. 
  • Be aware of button or coin batteries. Commonly found in products including toys, these batteries pose deadly risks to children. If swallowed or placed in the nose or ears, they can cause serious injury or death. A recent study showed that a child 18 or under visited an emergency room every 75 minutes with a battery-related injury. Button batteries accounted for an estimated 85 percent of these cases. Learn about battery safety at home.
  • Recycle batteries properly. South Carolina residents have several options with more recycling infrastructure on the way. Learn more about battery recycling.

The campaign also offers additional information and material including a Battery Identification Guide. Check the menu on the right side of this page for more resources.

Please note: The information provided is for household batteries only. Businesses must follow all requirements for both large and small quantity hazardous waste generators.