The holidays are here and we will be exchanging all kinds of new items with each other.  That means that we throw away more over the next coming weeks and I don't want to see you get a big fat ticket!

It is true, there is a movement to bust people tossing illegal items in their garbage.  It's big money by the way, the fine is $500 per offense! That is why I wanted to lay out what you absolutely can't throw away in New Jersey.

Household Batteries


Some batteries you can throw away in the regular trash and some you will get fined out the wazooo for. There is a big difference between disposable and rechargeable batteries and their lawful disposal.  You can throw away the following:  

Alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, 9 volts)

Button cell batteries from calculators or small items

You Cannot Throw Away Rechargeables


Nickel-cadmium (from cell phones, laptops)

These batteries must be processed as hazardous waste at a collection center.

Car Batteries

Car batteries are illegal to throw away in the normal trash.  In fact, you should never have to handle them yourself if you work with a major auto repair shop.  They will take them off your hands for you because by law they have a protocol for removal and disposal.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash
Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash


My daughter just busted up her old iPhone and it needs to be thrown away but you can’t just toss it, that is a recycled item for sure. Why?  Those items can cause a fire so there is a method in place for those too. Apple has a recycling program for us.

Reusable Lighters

Reusable lighters can’t be thrown away, they must be processed.  This one was surprising to me.  Those long firestarters or the high-end Zappos have to be taken to a facility when they are ready to be thrown out.


Even if there is no lead in it, it is still flammable.  You have to bring it to your recycling center.


Remember we used to have old-school mercury thermometers?  Well, if you still have one you have to bring that to a hazardous waste facility.  Makes you feel really comfortable that we had it in our mouths all those years right? 


So many people think they can just flush the leftover pain meds but that poisons our water in the worst possible way.  Drug takeback events are typically hosted once or twice a year and that is the best way to get rid of unwanted medication.  They incinerate the medication so it is disposed of without infecting any of our vital resources.

Listen, no one needs a $500 fine right now so please be diligent not only for your pocketbook but also for our planet.  Happy holidays!

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