Do you have one such box of used batteries at home ?
Disposing batteries in an environmentally friendly way can be done only by sending them to recycling units. Unfortunately, there are no organised battery recycling system in India, as far my knowledge goes. Throwing them along with dry waste is the worst idea ever. Many batteries contain harmful metals and chemicals that can leak into our air and water supply when they are dumped into the trash. E-waste/Hazardous waste collectors do pickup these but then it goes to landfills.
Battery scrap is considered as a hazardous waste as it contains Lead which need to be recycled in more environmental friendly manner. Usually in other countries such batteries are hammered , soaked in base and then iron, zinc etc separated . Carbon is recovered from solution. Informal sector do some recycling but at the cost of exposing humans to extreme toxicity .
Reducing usage seems to be the only way for the near future.
Minimising use of battery operated toys/gadgets – Most of the toys now days have become battery operated. Even the simplest cars or clapping teddys which were earlier working with spring mechanism. Avoiding them is best.
Using rechargeable batteries where needed- Gadgets like remotes, torch-lights require battery and rechargeable battery can work for months reducing waste generation.
Create awareness and force manufacturers to take back their products to recycle at source – This is one of the biggest challenge for authorities to make manufacturers take back their product waste. This is beneficial for battery manufacturers as they would be knowing what all is there and how to reuse it. Till now governments don’t care about this to being in new laws.
One can store used batteries in a container, it will take years to fill a small container. One important check here is to not put any metal in that box and apply a thick tape on the positive and negative terminals of the batteries. This will avoid residual charge to cause any fire in the box.
Hope that in near future there will be a proper battery recycling unit.