Up until the mid-80s, batteries contained quite a lot of mercury, a substance which is bad news when it comes to the environment and keeping it healthy. Luckily for us, since 1984 the quantity of mercury found in batteries has been steadily decreasing, making them much less toxic to us and to our natural world.
Although you're perfectly within your rights to throw out your depleted batteries with the rest of your rubbish - they won't do any more damage in landfill than anything else these days - that doesn't mean it's necessarily the most responsible option out there.
The materials that go into making batteries are important - and limited - resources, and by ensuring your batteries are recycled, you can help to make sure those materials are reclaimed and reused, rather than just going into landfill and ceasing to be useful to anyone.
Lead, zinc, lithium, cadmium and small amounts of mercury are still found in batteries - all naturally occurring substances but ones which it takes time and energy to extract. By recycling batteries you can help to reduce your environmental footprint and look after the world that we live in.
Incineration or going to landfill can also result in the batteries leaking into the soil, water and air around us when the casing that the battery is housed in corrodes, causing damage that could easily be avoided by simply recycling them in the first place.
You'll find battery recycling boxes in lots of shops and stores, particularly those that sell a lot of batteries. Take a look in stationery stores and electronics shops, and ask the staff if they have recycling facilities available.
Alternatively, if your business gets though a lot of batteries, it's possible to order a box in which to store them from many deposal companies, these will be collected when it's full and disposed of in a responsible manner.
We all use batteries every day to make our lives easier, but like everything else, if we don't think about what happens to them when we're finished, the planet could end up in serious trouble - so take a moment to think about where your used batteries are going.