Best Buy answers the question that’s becoming all-to-common – will you take my bulging battery off my hands?
I bought a MacBook Pro off of Craigslist that had a bulging battery. I would have done more checking, but it was a Late 2012, the last of the MacBook Pro units that have easily-replaceable batteries. Ten minutes and a $40 battery replacement solved that problem.
Now, what to do with the old, bulging one? A bulging battery has some amount of hydrogen gas that has built up outside the failing/corroded lithium cell units, inside the battery bag. The bag is designed to hold enough of the hydrogen and chemicals, that you’d notice the failure (via bulging) long before it could escape.
Of course, Apple would love for as many bulging batteries as possible to be captured by their people. For many reasons, we won’t go into that here – it’s not hard to guess reasons why. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) will generally only step in when a battery poses an immediate fire (or other safety) hazard. That said, you can submit reports for bulging batteries to SaferProducts.gov – and if you do, hold onto it as they may require the manufacturer to investigate.
For me, I just want it recycled. And the nearest Apple Store is a three-hour round trip drive away. Next up? Best Buy.
Best Buy has taken rechargeable consumer batteries for years. That said, a bulging battery is a gray area. One Best Buy interview (which I can’t find at the moment) said they would not accept batteries that “posed a hazard” – which left it distinctly a gray area.
After doing some research, I found this Facebook official Best Buy Q&A that gave a more decisive answer:
Yes, the image above is off-center – I wanted to capture the full Facebook URL for authenticity and verification purposes.
Bottom line, inspect it and make sure it’s not leaking or punctured – then take it in to Best Buy’s recycling counter. I would put it in one – or possibly two – ziplock bags as a courtesy. Best Buy requires you to insert batteries into a recycling bag before depositing them in their recyclable battery disposable bin – this situation may warrant a full ziplock bag (or again, a couple) as a courtesy.
Now, if it is leaking or punctured, do not breathe in the gas – and promptly take it outside. Then contact your county hazardous/electronics waste program, hopefully, your county has one at this point. My county will take any household electronic goods – but only two days a week.