Understanding car battery recycling

Since up to 99 percent of a lead-acid battery is recyclable, recycling old batteries reduces waste and the need to use new raw materials and components. Instead of storing your old battery, make sure it is recycled by either dropping it off at any nearby battery retailer or leaving it with the counterperson when you buy a replacement.

Understanding car battery recycling

When you buy a new battery, automotive dealers typically give you credit for your old one. When handling your old battery, take all necessary safety precautions. In this article, the answer to the following questions about car battery recycling will be discussed:

  • Why is car battery recycling important?
  • What is the process of a recycling car batteries?
  • What are the types of recyclable batteries?
  • How are car batteries recycled?
  • Where to recycle car batteries?
  • What are the processes of recycling batteries?

So, let’s dive in!

Read more: Things to put into consideration before buying a car battery

Why is car battery recycling important?

Maintaining the safety of our environment requires recycling. Recycling, by definition, is the process of turning trash into useful materials. It lessens the need for new resources as well as the damage that incorrect disposal of items does to the environment.

What is the process of a recycling car batteries?

Used batteries are gathered from drop-off points and transferred to recycling centers to start the recycling process. There, the polypropylene (the plastic case) and lead are separated, and the lead is then sent into a furnace to be melted down. The lead is subsequently utilized to make fresh batteries. The polypropylene is cleaned and recycled as well. Acid is then handled and neutralized. Up to 80% of recycled materials are generally used in the manufacture of new vehicle batteries.

Read more: Ten common signs your car battery is dead

How are car batteries recycled?

The following steps are how car batteries are recycled:

  • The plastic is broken down
  • The lead is melted
  • The battery acid is neutralized and processed


The plastic is broken down

The plastic is broken down in Step 1. The composite components of your car battery—plastic, lead, and electrolytes—are separated when it is recycled. The plastic casing and lid of your battery are broken down into plastic pellets. By using these pellets to create fresh cases and covers, less new plastic needs to be produced. These plastics may take hundreds of years to degrade if they are not treated.

The lead is melted

The lead is melted in phase 2. Lead ingots are created by melting the lead that is present in your battery’s grid, terminals, and posts. The retained lead oxide can also be used in upcoming batteries. These are used to create new battery grids.

The battery acid is neutralized and processed

The battery acid is treated and neutralized in step three. Your battery’s electrolytes are the most crucial recycling component. Sulfuric acid serves as the electrolyte conductor in lead-acid batteries. If handled incorrectly, sulfuric acid can produce deadly vapors and is potent enough to burn through iron.

There are two ways to neutralize this old battery acid. First, it can be turned into water by neutralizing it with a basic substance (to balance the acidic electrolyte). Before being released into sewer systems, the water is then cleaned, purified, and tested.

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What are the types of recyclable batteries?

The followings are the common types of recyclable batteries:

  • Lithium-ion (L-ion) battery
  • Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery
  • Nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery
  • Small Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery


Lithium-ion (L-ion) battery

Smartphones and other personal electronics frequently use lithium-ion (L-Ion) batteries. They also power tablets, laptop computers, and cordless power equipment.

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery

Ni-Cd batteries are rechargeable cells that are utilized in power tools and electronic gadgets. They are used for equipment that needs a lot of currents but isn’t always in use.

Nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery

Rechargeable nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries are available in AA, AAA, 9 volt, and D cells. They are utilized in digital cameras and other energy equipment.

Small Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery

Small Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Battery: These rechargeable batteries are frequently seen in heavy machinery like lawn mowers and cars. They also supply electricity to telecommunications and medical equipment.

Read more: How long does it take to charge a car battery?

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Where to recycle car batteries?

Rechargeable battery parts are properly and respectfully disposed of by recycling businesses. In streams or landfills, the metals and chemicals don’t end up. Here are some recycling options:

A nonprofit initiative for recycling batteries is called Call2Recycle. Rechargeable batteries can be disposed of in the store’s Call2Recycle bins. Any rechargeable battery under 300 watt-hours and weighing up to 11 pounds is acceptable. Recycling is free of charge. For residents to drop off batteries, many regional solid waste authorities hold collection events.

There are mail-in programs offered by a few battery manufacturers and recycling centers. Follow postal shipping guidelines before sending batteries. Car batteries can be recycled at the majority of auto service shops.

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What are the processes of recycling batteries?

Only a small percentage of the electric-drive vehicles on the U.S. auto market has reached the end of their usable lifespan. The market for recycled batteries could grow as electric-drive vehicles become more prevalent.

After a battery’s useful life as well as throughout manufacture, widespread battery recycling would prevent harmful materials from entering the waste stream. Critical materials would be reintroduced into the supply chain as a result of material recovery from recycling, expanding domestic sources for these materials.

The development of battery recycling procedures that lessen the effects of utilizing lithium-ion and other types of batteries in automobiles is now under work. However, different recycling procedures need various kinds of material recovery separation techniques.

  • Smelting
  • Direct recovery
  • Intermediate processes


Read more: Understanding battery used in automobiles


Salts or basic elements are recovered during melting procedures. These procedures may accommodate a variety of batteries, including lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride, and are already in use on a broad scale.

High temperatures are used during smelting to burn organic materials like the electrolyte and carbon anodes as fuel or reductant. The precious metals are retrieved and transported for refining so that the finished product is appropriate for any application. The slag, which is now utilized as an additive to concrete, contains other minerals, including lithium.

Direct recovery

On the other hand, certain recycling procedures specifically recover materials suitable for batteries. Diverse physical and chemical procedures are used to separate the components, and all active substances and metals can be recovered. Direct recovery is a low-temperature procedure that uses less energy.

Intermediate processes

Between the two extremes is the third type of process. In contrast to direct recovery, these procedures may take different types of batteries, but they also recover materials further along the production line than smelting does.

Recovery of high-value materials is frequently hindered by the need to separate the various battery materials. For electric-drive vehicles to be successful from a sustainability perspective, battery design that takes into account disassembly and recycling is crucial. It would also be simpler and more affordable to recycle batteries if their components—materials and cell designs—were standardized.

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In summary

Practice disposing of spent batteries properly. Rechargeable and domestic batteries should be disposed of properly to protect the environment. That is all for this article where the following questions are being answered:

  • Why is car battery recycling important?
  • What is the process of a recycling car batteries?
  • What are the types of recyclable batteries?
  • How are car batteries recycled?
  • Where to recycle car batteries?
  • What are the processes of recycling batteries?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with others and keep the environment friendly. Thanks for reading, see you around!