Alkaline batteries don't need to be recycled because they don't contain any hazardous materials. The best way to dispose of alkaline batteries for a school project is to throw them away with the regular trash, according to Anne Krapfl from Iowa State University. In states like California, where alkaline battery recycling is mandated, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation can provide a list of drop off locations local to each household.
Krapfl states that alkaline batteries are expensive to recycle and that the cost-benefit analysis renders the effort impractical. In the United States, the batteries are first shredded and the battery case, manganese and zinc are separated. A second company mixes batteries in as a feedstock in steelmaking furnaces to make low-grade steel such as rebar. The zinc fumes within the batteries are recovered separately. Most states don't encourage the recycling of alkaline batteries because they haven't contained harmful materials for almost 20 years. Manufacturers began to remove toxic additives, like mercury, from battery production after 1996 in conjunction with the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act. Alkaline batteries are composed primarily of common metals like steel, zinc and manganese, and they don't pose a health or environmental risk during normal use or disposal.