No. Household batteries (RAYOVAC® FUSION™, HIGH ENERGY™, Zinc Carbon batteries and rechargeable batteries such as RAYOVAC®'s Recharge and Recharge Plus (NiMH), and fully drained lithium primary batteries) are not hazardous waste. They are qualified as non-hazardous after having undergone government required testing.
Certain others, such as lead acid rechargeables and Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) batteries, are required by regulation to be recycled. If you throw them away then they are a hazardous waste. Recycling logos on these products contain the information you need for finding your recycling outlets.
For specific chemical and technical information check out our Safety Data Sheets.
All Alkaline, Rechargeable Alkaline, Rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Zinc Carbon, and drained lithium primary batteries made by RAYOVAC® are not a USEPA hazardous waste. Zinc Air and Silver Oxide in typical consumer quantities are not USEPA hazardous waste (see below for information pertaining to industrial large quantity generators). Our Material Safety Data Sheets note that non-hazardous wastes are suitable for ordinary disposal methods, providing that there is not some other applicable state or local regulation which directs otherwise. Please view the MSDS pertaining to your particular battery type to find proper disposal methods - Safety Data Sheets.
From time to time some states, counties, or local governments enact regulations naming a specific compound or element hazardous. In effect, this makes many of the consumer products that contain that material potentially covered by the rules. In other cases, "batteries" is used generically when the rule is targeted toward automotive lead acid batteries. In these cases, it takes time to correct the regulatory language. In other cases, the household batteries we produce may be undesirable for the type of waste management chosen by a city or municipality such as when composting or waste-to-energy incineration is used. Those rules do not make the household battery waste hazardous; they just require different management, often making that management more difficult or costly.
Part II :
There are some batteries, such as Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd), which are Universal Waste (the term "universal waste" is potentially applicable to waste batteries only if they are considered "hazardous"). Collection of Nickel-Cadmium batteries is required by law. They are not classified as EPA hazardous waste as long as their destination is recycling. For specific information about environmental legislation relating to batteries, please visit NEMA's web site, the EPA, search the US Code of Federal Regulations, in Europe search EUR-LEX, or contact an appropriate government agency. Other types of commonly used batteries, such as silver oxide batteries, are not regulated for the general consumer but may be regulated for the industrial user. Industrial users who may generate over 100 Kilograms per month of certain regulated hazardous wastes or over 1000 kilograms of any type of hazardous waste may need to treat their waste silver oxide batteries as hazardous waste. Silver oxide batteries contain precious metals that may be recycled. For a list of potential recyclers go to www.nema.org. Many retailers who replace watch batteries as a customer service will also take small quantities of silver oxide batteries from the consumer for recycling.