Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled? How to Recycle Them?

Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled? How to Recycle Them?

I’ll explain to you how to recycle lead-acid batteries in this article in a secure and responsible manner.

Each day, lead-acid batteries assist you in starting your car, but what happens to them after they run out of power? These batteries, which among other things can store energy for off-grid solar power systems, can be recycled into parts for new batteries. Many nations have recycling rates of over 90% for lead-acid batteries, which are highly recyclable.

However, that doesn’t mean they can go into the waste bin at home. Lead-acid batteries should be recycled. Toxic substances like lead can leak into the environment when car batteries and other lead-acid batteries end up in a landfill. So, here’s what you need to know about recycling lead-acid batteries.

Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled?

Yes, the three essential parts of a lead-acid battery can all be recycled 100 percent.

  • Lead and lead products: 99% of lead is recovered during the smelting process and is recycled or sold as a commodity.
  • Electrolyte: 100% of sulphuric acid sold is recovered and is recycled, sold as a commodity, or neutralized for disposal.
  • Plastics: sold as a commodity after being recycled.

Not only is it beneficial to the environment to recycle used car batteries, but it’s also simpler than you might think. Battery retailers must accept used lead-acid batteries (the kind used in cars) by law in many states. There also are recycling centers around the country devoted to keeping batteries out of landfills.

Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled? How to Recycle Them?

Battery Recycling: Step by Step

Charge the lead-acid battery completely and thoroughly test it to see if it can be repaired before beginning the recycling process. Batteries that still have life left in them go through an extensive refurbishment process and return to the end user clean, pristine, and ready to run.

In the event that the battery is deemed useless, the recycling process marks the start of its second life.

Lithium-ion (used in electronics) and alkaline (used in household appliances) batteries are not made similarly to lead-acid batteries. Each type of battery has its own recycling process. Lithium-ion batteries are especially dangerous and pose significant fire hazards if they are not handled properly. Check out Can You Mix Lead-acid and Lithium Batteries?

Following sorting, the lead batteries are fed into a device where they are broken up into tiny pieces by rotating hammers. Before the metal and plastic parts continue down the line and are submerged in a holding tank filled with water, a screen filters out the battery acid.

The lead and other metal pieces sink and the plastic floats to the top. Battery acid, metal, and plastic remain after the plastic has been skimmed off and separated. Every part of the battery can be recycled.

  • Battery Acid: The acid is neutralized, converting it into the water, using a chemical compound. Before sending the water into the sewer system, it’s cleaned and tested to ensure it meets regulatory clean water standards. As sodium sulfate, battery acid can also be transformed and used in the production of glass and textiles.
  • Plastic: After being cleaned and dried, the plastic is delivered to a recycling facility where it is melted and made into plastic pellets.
  • Lead: The metal pieces make their way into a furnace for up to 10 hours where they’re melted down into a liquid. Lighter metals are extracted from the melted lead by floating to the surface. Molten lead is purified once again and poured into bar-shaped molds.

The cycle can be restarted by using recycled plastic pellets and lead to create new car batteries. Three new batteries can be made from one lead bar of sufficient lead.

Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled? How to Recycle Them?

Easy Ways to Recycle Lead Acid Batteries

Charge the battery completely and thoroughly test it to determine whether it can be repaired before beginning the recycling process. Batteries that have life left in them undergo a thorough refurbishment process before being returned to the end user clean, pristine, and ready to use.

If the battery is determined to be unusable, the recycling process starts its second life.

Recycle Car Batteries at a Local Auto Parts Store

In the majority of states, you can return an old car battery to an auto parts retailer like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, or Napa Auto Parts. The battery will be recycled for you. AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts will usually even give you a gift card of around $10 for every old car battery you bring for recycling. Not a bad deal.

Note: If you’re buying a new car battery at the same time, the old battery will often automatically count as a credit toward the purchase of a new one. Due to the core charge’s refund, this has happened.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Before visiting, make a call to your nearby auto parts store. Ask if they recycle the type of auto battery you have. There are some exceptions in some states and for some vehicles, but most locations accept the majority of auto batteries. Before recycling your battery, measure its open circuit voltage with a multimeter and compare that number to a lead acid battery voltage chart to make sure it’s actually dead. All that may be required is a recharge.
  2. Take out the car’s battery. Disconnect the negative than positive battery cables. In order to remove the battery, unfasten the strap. After that, take the vehicle’s battery out.
  3. Send your battery to be recycled. Deliver it to the counter at your neighborhood auto parts store. They’ll handle the recycling for you.

Recycle Small Sealed Lead Acid Batteries at Lowes and Home Depot

Small sealed lead acid batteries, typically up to 11 pounds and 300 watt-hours, are accepted for recycling at many well-known stores. Here’s how to do it:

Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled? How to Recycle Them?
  1. Go to Call2Recycle. A lot of drop-off locations across the nation, including Lowe’s, Staples, and Home Depot stores, are part of the national battery recycling program. In fact, according to Call2Recycle, 86% of North Americans reside within 10 miles of a drop-off location. No excuse!
  2. To find drop-off spots close to you, enter your location. I typed my zip code, for instance. It appears that there are 9 drop-off points close to me. Try using Earth911 to conduct a search if Call2Recycle doesn’t have any nearby locations. It has a database of recycling facilities and drop-off points that can be searched on its own.
  3. Find a drop-off location that will accept lead-acid batteries. To learn which kinds of rechargeable batteries a location accepts, click the little info icon in the search results. A popup will open telling you what kinds. For instance, a Home Depot close to me recycles sealed lead acid batteries up to 11 pounds in weight. Verify that your battery satisfies the demands of the location.
  4. Send the battery to be recycled. Drop-off bins are typically located close to the store’s entrance at drop-off locations. Consider recycling your other used rechargeable batteries as well while you’re at it. It’s free.

Recycle Lead Acid Batteries at a Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Center Near You

Many cities have recycling centers that accept lead-acid batteries. Here’s how to find one near you:

  1. Look for local recycling facilities for lead-acid batteries. For example, I live in Atlanta so I searched “atlanta recycling lead acid batteries” on Google and brought up a page on how to get rid of car batteries on the city government’s website. (Lead acid batteries are found in cars.)
  2. Find a lead-acid battery recycling facility in your area. I visited my city government’s website and found a center near me for hard-to-recycle materials.
  3. Deliver the battery for recycling. There might be charges, which are typically determined by the battery’s weight. Calling ahead is advised because you might need to make an appointment.

Use a Paid Battery Recycling Service

The last resort is to pay someone to pick up and recycle your lead acid battery for you if none of the aforementioned options work for you. You accomplish this by purchasing a battery recycling kit.

A Small Battery Recycling Box and a Large Battery Recycling Box are available from Call2Recycle, and each can hold between 20 and 50 pounds of batteries. The Big Green Box also provided a kit.

A recycling container, pre-paid shipping label, and the required permit for shipping batteries are typically included in the kits. The majority of the time, the kits have weight and watt-hour restrictions on the batteries. Check before buying.

Once the kit is received, all that needs to be done is toss your batteries inside the container, apply the shipping label, and arrange for pickup. In addition to recycling the batteries, the service will pick up the container. Paying to recycle a lead acid battery is a far cry from auto parts stores that give you a $10 gift card for old car batteries, but sometimes it’s your only option.

What is a Lead-Acid Battery?

Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled? How to Recycle Them?

Lead-acid batteries (often called starting batteries) are the rechargeable batteries most commonly found in cars. They power everything from the ignition system to the electrical components.

Rechargeable lead-acid batteries are the most recycled consumer good in the United States, according to the EPA, with 99% of them being recycled. Knowing what’s inside a lead-acid battery can help you comprehend how the batteries are broken down during recycling. A typical 12-volt lead-acid battery is made up of five components:

  • A positive plate covered with a paste of lead dioxide
  • A negative plate made of sponge lead
  • A separator that acts as insulating material between the two plates. It’s usually a micro-porous polyethylene synthetic material
  • Liquid electrolytes made up of water and sulphuric acid
  • A polypropylene container

Battery cycling is the process by which a battery transitions from a charged to a discharged state. Energy is drawn from the battery during discharge and recharged by the alternator.

According to Popular Mechanics, a lead-acid battery’s life expectancy can be affected by a variety of factors, but a typical car battery should last six years on average. However, your battery’s troubles are not over just yet.

Other ways to deal with lead acid batteries:

Not Ready to Recycle? Refurbish

Fully charged batteries are tested to see if they pass refurbishment standards while still having life in them. In the unlikely event that it doesn’t, customers can save money on a new battery while their old one is recycled.

A battery is repaired and rebuilt on-site if it is deemed refurbishment-ready. All terminals and casings are thoroughly cleaned at the end of the procedure, and then the device is returned to immaculate working order.

Conclusion: Recycle Lead-acid Batteries

Trade associations claim that lead acid batteries are the most recycled consumer good in America, with 99% of all lead acid batteries being safely recycled. There are a few safe ways to get rid of a used lead-acid battery.

Lead battery recycling should continue. On a global level, however, we must improve how we recycle them.


How Much of a Lead-acid Battery Can Be Recycled?

According to the EPA, about 80% of the lead and plastic in a lead-acid battery is recycled for reuse. Additionally, lead-acid batteries are closed-loop recycled, which entails reusing every component of a battery to create a brand-new battery.

Why Are Lead-acid Batteries Recycled So Much?

The manufacture of lead-acid batteries accounts for about 85% of the global demand for the refined lead metal. Recycled lead fills a large portion of this demand, and one important source is the recycling of lead-acid batteries. Lead recycling is an important cause of environmental contamination and human exposure.

Do Lead-acid Batteries Have a Future?

Safe, affordable, and fully recyclable, lead-acid batteries will find even more useful in the age of renewable and clean energy. Over the years, the lead-acid battery has undergone a number of technological changes, leading to improved performance, lower weight, durability, use of newer materials, high recyclability, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.