This Battery Recycling Tip Can Save Your Home (And Possibly Your Life)

9V batteries are not the most common battery form factor in photography, yet they are still being used in some remote triggers and RC related gadgets (like remote microphones). And of course for igniting steel wool.

While we generally recommend recycling batteries, you should watch that movie before recycling a single 9 volts battery.It shares the story of Dave from Kids and Character. Dave house went of fire when he placed an exposed 9V battery in a recycling bag and the contacts shorted. This led to the battery waring up and eventually catching fire which burnt down the house.

Dave’s tip is simple: gaffer tape the battery terminals before sending it on its last way. It will keep the contacts from shorting.

Thanks for the heads up Robert.

  • Matthew Wagg

    Just as an aside to this, even if the batteries are considered dead. They do still hold somewhat of a charge. Check a ‘dead’ 9v battery and you’ll see the voltage is still around 5v so tape up even the ‘dead’ ones as well.

  • Ralph Hightower

    I have a remote control for my camera that uses a 9V battery. Rather than have it loose in the bag where it could bump around an possibly short out, I put it in an empty 35mm film canister.

  • jason bourne

    “Shorting” not “Shortening.”

    • udi tirosh

      got it, thanks!

  • RMC

    Here’s a useful guide to help you understand which batteries need to be taped:

  • HenryH

    I first figured this out when I absentmindedly put a 9v in my pants pocket – the same pocket where I keep loose change. After a few minutes I was feeling a very hot sensation. Luckily, I pulled it out before any real damage occurred. Ever since, I’ve been very careful around the buggers.

  • MikeDF

    taping up of terminals to prevent shortening (sic) is mandatory practice across the corporation I work for. One business had a pallet load of ‘dead’ lithium button catch fire. Luckily it was working hours and the smoking pallet was dragged outside to be extinguished

  • Morgan

    Even if the batteries are taped, they shouldn’t be put in with the recycling. They are considered household hazardous waste and should be treated as so.