Battery Recycling

Battery recycling

Battery recycling is essential to protect the environment. Batteries contain heavy metals such as lead, nickel and manganese which can pose serious environmental and health hazards when dumped into landfills.

Single-use batteries such as AA, AAA and C cell batteries can be recycled through your local municipality’s household hazardous waste collection program. Vehicle batteries may also be recycled through car manufacturers’ drop off programs or similar drop off locations once their lives have been exhausted.

Lead Acid

Battery recycling is the practice of recovering materials from used batteries, such as lead-acid or alkaline. Most batteries consist of a combination of lead and sulphuric acid, though some also contain plastic components.

When a battery is no longer usable, recycling it is the preferred option over throwing it away or discarding in the trash. Discarding lead-acid batteries in landfills, lakes or streams is illegal so take them to either a household hazardous waste collection location or recycling center for disposal.

Most HHW facilities will accept other types of batteries, including lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) ones; however, they may not take lead-acid ones so be sure to double-check before sending yours in.

Battery recycling typically entails collecting batteries, disassembling them and separating the components. Recyclers collect anode and cathode materials as well as plastic and metal pieces.

Once sorting is complete, the batteries go through a chemical and mechanical separation process that separates them into distinct parts. This includes anode material, cathode material and corrosive chemicals.

These components are then mixed with other waste, like sand or soil, to form a solid mass. A battery cutting machine uses rotating hammers to break this mass down, producing an amalgam of lead, sand, water and other materials which is collected in a sink-float tank for further processing.

Once removed, the battery is melted to create molten lead which is then sold to manufacturers for creating new batteries. These lead-acid batteries are then sold on to customers for use in cars and other devices.

Unfortunately, lead-acid batteries remain a major source of toxic pollution. They contain lead and sulphuric acid – heavy metals which can have severe health effects in humans.

Lead-acid batteries are not only a major contributor to pollution, but they are also an enormous health hazard for many people. Not only do they create significant environmental harm, but they are also the primary source of exposure to lead in the environment and pose particular dangers for children.

UNEP has dedicated itself to improving the environmental sound management of used lead-acid batteries. Through needs assessment surveys and capacity building activities, UNEP aims to assist countries in tackling this pressing issue.


NiCd battery recycling is an eco-friendly way to conserve valuable natural resources and preserve essential minerals. GlobalTech(r) Environmental is proud to provide environmentally responsible landfill-free battery recycling and reclaiming for various battery types.

NiCd Batteries have an impressive recycling rate of 75% by weight when collected and can be recycled almost 100%, providing a valuable resource for future generations. Furthermore, their superior cycling characteristics and energy density compare favorably to lead-acid batteries, allowing them to last a very long time.

NiCd primary cells exhibit less voltage loss when discharged than alkaline or zinc-carbon primary batteries, providing superior performance in many consumer applications.

They have the capacity to handle high discharge currents without significantly decreasing their performance, making them suitable for use with various electronic devices and appliances.

NiCd batteries are known for their low open-circuit voltage (1.2 volts per cell), which is lower than alkaline or zinc-carbon cells’ 1.5 volts. As the battery discharges, however, its voltage only slightly decreases – an advantage in applications requiring constant cell potential such as many handheld electronic devices.

These batteries come in a range of sizes and capacities, such as portable sealed and large ventilated cells for standby or motive power applications. They’re used on cars, airplanes, utility grid storage systems and wind turbines alike.

NiCd batteries are ideal for applications where space is at a premium, such as airplanes. Additionally, they serve as backup power sources in railroads and mass transit systems.

Vented or wet cells are a type of NiCd battery designed for larger stationary applications, both motive power and standby power. These batteries feature an airtight seal between their separator and metal cases filled with electrolyte. Vented/wet cell NiCd batteries have higher maximum current capabilities than traditional sealed-cell NiCd batteries and often serve as starters in electric vehicles.

Lithium Ion

A rapidly expanding industry is revolutionizing how we use electronic devices, leading to an enormous stockpile of spent lithium ion batteries. Unfortunately, despite their value and potential for recycling, less than 5% are currently being recovered.

Batteries are composed of materials like copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium that can be recycled multiple times to create new batteries. This helps avoid mining these elements from the earth which has an adverse impact on the environment.

However, even with this recycling option available, the process is costly and time-consuming. It is essential to find a company that specializes in battery recycling and ensures the process is done responsibly – look for NAID, R2 or e-Stewards certifications to confirm.

Traditional battery recyclers have used physical separation methods to separate cathode materials from other battery components (Saeki et al., 2004; Xu et al., 2008). Although these techniques are highly effective, they also have drawbacks; they require extensive implementation and do not guarantee 100% separation of all materials.

Another popular method involves incineration of the batteries. Unfortunately, this practice carries with it an environmental risk; other common methods include mechanical separation, organic solvent dissolution and thermal treatment.

Chemical processes like acid leaching, solvent oxidation and sulfate reduction can also be employed to recover metals from batteries. These techniques are more energy-efficient than thermal methods and produce less CO2 emissions.

Lithium ion batteries have a unique structure, consisting of multiple layers that stack atop each other to form the circuitry that powers them.

As battery layers wear down and degrade, electrodes are exposed to stress from changes in their environment, leading to changes in mechanical properties, microstructure, capacity – potentially leading to decreased capacity and cycling stability which could compromise device safety.

To prevent these issues, batteries are stored in a hard shell case that connects all the cells together. This makes for convenient exchanges if one cell dies or the owner wants to upgrade to a higher-performing battery.

Button Cells

Button cells (also referred to as coin batteries) are a type of lithium battery commonly used in watches, hearing aids, key FOBs and camera batteries. They typically consist of zinc anode, silver oxide cathode and an alkaline solution as the electrolyte. Most jewelry stores recycle button cell batteries when customers bring in their watches for repairs.

Button cell batteries can be recycled through specialized battery recyclers, participating retailers offering takeback services or your local household hazardous waste collection program. However, some button cell batteries contain mercury and should never be thrown out or recycled with regular trash.

If your child accidentally swallows a button cell battery, they could experience serious burns to their mouth and throat. For medical advice, contact the Poisons Information Centre at 13 11 26.

Children are particularly attracted to button batteries due to their shiny and small size. Unfortunately, these can easily be swallowed and cause serious burns if accidentally lodged in the gullet or nostrils of young children.

Many times, button batteries are found in musical birthday cards and can be particularly appealing to small children. If a child swallows one of these batteries, contact emergency services immediately and the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 which operates 24 hours a day.

These batteries contain silver and mercury, so it is important to discard them safely and environmentally-friendly. The most convenient way to do this is by taking them to one of our Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events or visiting a Best Buy store that has a battery collection kiosk just inside the door.

Before recycling primary lithium “button” cell batteries, we suggest taping both positive and negative terminal ends together. Doing this prevents smaller battery sizes from getting wedged in-between the terminal ends, potentially leading to short circuiting or other damage or injury.

To avoid this issue, you should regularly scan your floors, tables and counters for loose button batteries. When it’s time to throw away these items, place them in a bucket or other container that is out of reach of small children and drop them off at a collection center as soon as possible.