banner image Lithium-ion batteries

Tompkins County Guidelines for Proper Handling of Lithium-ion Batteries

November 14, 2022  

Lithium-ion batteries are not accepted in recycling or trash because they can cause safety hazards like fires and explosions if handled incorrectly. Undamaged Lithium-ion batteries are accepted at the Recycling and Solid Waste Center (RSWC) when prepared correctly. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many products such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops, E-Bikes, electric toothbrushes, cordless tools, hoverboards, scooters, and for solar power backup storage. Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management (TCRMM) urges county residents to review the guidelines for safe handling of Lithium-ion batteries included below. 


To avoid potentially hazardous situations that may cause harm to people and the environment, Tompkins County residents are instructed as follows: 

  • After removing a spent battery from a product, read the battery’s label to identify what type of battery it is. Lithium-ion batteries may be labeled as “Lithium Ion”, “Li-ION”, “Li-Ion”, or “LiPo” (lithium polymer).  
  • DO NOT dispose of Lithium-ion batteries in trash or recycling. When prepared properly, undamaged Lithium-ion batteries are accepted at the designated battery area of the Electronics Drop-Off Station at the RSWC. 
  • Other rechargeable batteries are accepted at the RSWC If terminal ends have been taped with either duct tape OR black electrical tape. 
  • DO tape terminal ends of all Lithium-ion and rechargeable batteries with either duct tape OR black electrical tape before bringing them to the RSWC.  
  • Upon arrival at the RSWC, properly prepared Lithium-ion batteries will be accepted by an attendant at the designated battery area of the Electronics Drop-Off Station. 
  • Damaged batteries are NOT ACCEPTED at the RSWC Electronics Drop-Off Station. If batteries are damaged or leaking, place them in nonflammable material such as sand or clay-based kitty litter. 
  • Damaged batteries are accepted BY APPOINTMENT at Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Events hosted by TCRMM at the RSWC throughout the year. Click here to learn more about HHW Events. 
  • When in doubt, contact the Recycling and Materials Management Office at 607-273-6632.

For more information, please visit or contact Seth Dennis, Waste Reduction & Recycling Specialist, at