Did you know that one of the United States founding fathers created the battery? Benjamin Franklin is believed to have created the battery in 1749. Franklin was one of the first people to experiment with electricity. He was first to use the word "battery" to describe sheets of glass coated with metal, also known as capacitors. And, these capacitors were able to sustain an electrical charge.
The many inventions of Franklin still shape the way we use electricity today. Batteries are very common today. You likely have dozens of them in your house. Each battery helps make our lives easier, but as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. In fact, millions of dollars of damage and hundreds of life threating situations or deaths have occurred when batteries are not properly stored or disposed of…check it out.
AAA, AA, D, C, 9 volt and various Lithium types all have negative (-) and positive (+) terminals or sides. When inserted in electronic equipment and in their proper orientation …no problem. But when they are loose and their terminals make contact with metal or other conductive material, they will spark and get hot. Especially hazardous is the 9 volt battery because its terminals or posts set on top of the battery, right next to one another. If these come into contact with aluminum foil, brillo, etc., there is great possibility that a fire will start.
When you store this type of battery (positive and negative on top), make sure its terminals are covered with electrical tape or it should suffice by placing each of the batteries individually in a small box or ziplock bag before putting them away. Some stores now have the 9 volt batteries, as they come from the manufacturer, packaged with plastic caps. If you need to purchase a 9 volt battery, try to find those that are packaged in this manner and may we suggest that you save the manufacture cap for later disposal of the battery.
Try to be just as diligent with all types and sizes. Keep them in their original packaging if stored in a “junk drawer”. Don’t let them roll around freely with all the other wonderful miscellaneous items we unknowingly toss in the drawer and don’t think twice about it.
Once batteries are removed for disposal, do not just throw them in the trash unless you have made sure to place electrical tape over their terminals or disc sides.
The following TV news video presents some very graphic pictures of what can go wrong when batteries are not properly stored or disposed of: