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    After a Battery Dies, What's Left Inside?

    The materials remaining in spent batteries are essentially the same as those used in their production – typically, common metals such as zinc, manganese and iron. These metals are found in many products you have in your home, such as vitamin supplements and zinc oxide (used for sun protection and diaper rash). 

    These metals are placed in a steel can and sealed to produce a battery. When the battery is inserted into a device, the metals react with oxygen to produce energy. What is left when the battery dies is the steel can and an oxide. The type of oxide depends on the initial metal used to power the cell. While you may not be familiar with the term “oxide,” you are certainly familiar with one of the most common forms of it – iron oxide, more commonly known as rust.

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