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South Carolinians Reminded to "Be Battery Smart" in Observation of National Battery Day

Fri, 02/16/2024

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs joins the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and Palmetto Poison Center in promoting the safe use and recycling of household batteries.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In recognition of National Battery Day on February 18, South Carolinians are encouraged to “Take Charge: Be Battery Smart” and learn about the importance of properly using and recycling common household batteries.

Batteries are necessary for many household essentials and have become an essential part of everyday life. While household batteries are safe to use when following the manufacturer’s instructions, batteries that are damaged or improperly stored, used or disposed of – particularly rechargeable lithium-ion batteries – can explode, catch fire, and pose other health risks. 

To help promote battery safety awareness, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and ISRI, the Voice of the Recycled Materials Industry™, launched the “Be Battery Smart” public education campaign in November 2023, with support from Lt. Governor Pamela Evette.

“The ‘Take Charge: Be Battery Smart’ campaign was developed to address a lack of general awareness about the potential hazards associated with household batteries,” said Richard Chesley, DHEC's Section Manager for the Office of Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling. “Lithium-ion batteries, which are the most popular type of rechargeable battery, are especially easy to puncture and can cause fires in the home, garbage trucks, recycling centers, and landfills. We also want residents to know that batteries should be properly recycled to limit their potential harm to people and the environment.”

Most South Carolina residents have opportunities to recycle batteries at no cost and are encouraged to learn more about battery recycling in their communities.

The Call2Recycle program offers about 16,000 drop-off sites nationwide for household battery recycling, including Best Buy, Lowe’s and The Home Depot. The retailer Batteries Plus also offers recycling options. Additionally, some South Carolina counties have household hazardous material collection programs or collection events that accept certain types of batteries, both single-use and rechargeable. Visit to learn more.

“An informed consumer is a savvy consumer, so the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) urges consumers to ‘Be Battery Smart’,” said Carri Grube Lybarker, administrator and consumer advocate with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. “Take stock of the batteries powering your devices, use and charge them properly, and recycle dead batteries and those from devices you are replacing.”

Another critical focus of Be Battery Smart is educating the public about the choking hazards posed by small, shiny button batteries. Children are especially at risk for serious injury or even death if they swallow a button battery or put one inside their ear or nose.

A national study published in 2022 by Safe Kids Worldwide and Nationwide Children’s Hospital showed that a child aged 18 or under visited an emergency room every 75 minutes with a battery-related injury, and button batteries accounted for an estimated 85% of those cases. 

"Button batteries are found in many products. It is important to always supervise small children while they are using these products, which may include some toys,” said Dr. Jill Michels, a clinical pharmacist and director of the Palmetto Poison Center at University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy. “Children are curious by nature, and often try to discover how something may work. This may lead to the child discovering the battery and ingesting it. Parents need to be aware that any ingestion of a button battery is considered an emergency and children need to be taken immediately to the hospital for an x-ray and treatment. Button battery ingestion can be harmful at any age, so this applies to all children.”

Several public information resources, including fact sheets, posters, battery identification charts and more, are all available at South Carolinians are encouraged to share this information with friends, family, coworkers and students.

“We’re thankful for having partners like the Lt. Governor Evette, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, Palmetto Poison Center and ISRI to help spread awareness about the smart handling of household batteries,” Chesley said.

“Take Charge: Be Battery Smart” is centered on household batteries. It’s important to note that businesses must follow all requirements for both large and small quantity hazardous waste generators.

SCDCA and DHEC will offer a free webinar on "Take Charge: Be Battery Smart" on Wednesday, March 13 at 10:30 a.m. The webinar will discuss best practices and resources available to South Carolinians. Register here to watch/listen from any computer or smart phone.

For more information, visit