Batteries literally keep us moving. From car batteries, to batteries in our cell phones and computers, life without the convenience of a portable power source would nearly slow to a crawl. According to the EPA, as much as we depend on them to power modern life, we can still do a better job at recycling batteries. Though approximately 98 percent of lead-acid batteries (car batteries) are recycled, almost all of the household (alkaline) units we use end up in the landfill.
While they come in many shapes, sizes and materials, all batteries contain an electrolyte and some type of heavy metal. An improper disposal means toxin in end up in the air, water and soil, that’s why recycling batteries is so important. The number-one way to prevent batteries from polluting the ecosystem is to purchase and use rechargeable batteries like those available from Batteryheads. Once rechargeable units are no longer usable, they should be recycled. Understanding the benefits of recycling batteries may encourage more consumers to do so.
Types of Batteries that can be Recycled
- Lead-acid (automobile)
- Non-automotive lead based (alarm systems and emergency lighting)
- Dry-cell (carbon-zinc and alkaline)
- Button cell
What happens during Recycling?
Different types of batteries are recycled in different ways.
With lead acid batteries, the unit is crushed or broken into pieces and placed in a vat of liquid. Lead and other heavy metals fall to the bottom of the vat and the plastic parts float to the top. The plastic is scooped away and the liquid is drained leaving only the heavy materials to be collected and sorted.
Most alkaline or zinc carbon batteries are restyled through mechanical separation process.
Lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium batteries are separated and recycled though a High Temperature Metal Reclamation process.
The heavy metals in mercury batteries are recycled through a process referred to as “controlled temperature.”
Materials harvested from batteries include:
- Scrap metal
Where Does it Go?
Some types of batteries, such as alkaline and lithium-ion, are 100 percent recyclable. That means all of the materials can be reused. What are these materials used for? The list is nearly endless: Rebar, plastic containers, paper goods, metal products and even new batteries. Some of the carbon collected from batteries is used to make cobalt--the element needed to create blue paint for ceramic accessories and dishes.
Not only do recycled batteries keep toxic materials out of the environment, but they decrease the amount of new materials that must be mined or produced to make a mountain of common household items, as well. Visit the Batteryheads store to browse our selection of rechargeable and recyclable batteries.