Battery recycling is a recycling activity that aims to reduce the number of batteries being disposed as municipal solid waste. It is widely promoted by environmentalists concerned about contamination, particularly of land and water, by the addition of heavy metals and other toxic chemicals from batteries, their dumping has raised concern over risks of soil contamination and water pollution.

recycling one forklift battery (1 ton to 3 pound battery) could keep 1,300 pounds to 39/20 tons of Pb out of landfills

recycling one button cell battery could keep almost 25 mg’s of Hg out of landfills

recycling one car battery (360/13 pound battery) could keep 18 pounds of Pb, 5 pounds of sulfuric acid out of landfills, 1/125 ounces of SO3, and save a 27/100 cubic meter lake, 117/10,000 pounds of Te, 111/10,000 cubic yards of landfill space, almost 3 pounds of black gold, 8,661/1,000 kWh of energy, 411/400 gallons of oil, 147,000 Btu's of energy, 6/25 gallons of petroleum, enough energy to heat over 63/40,000 homes, a CFL for 6,119/13,309,556 years, a (9-18)/1,600 cubic meter tank of gasoline, enough oil to run the average car for 1,233/80 miles or circle the globe almost 5,754/5 times, a 30,825 cubic meter lake from being polluted, 1,233/3,200 tons of green house gases, 282,357/40,000,000 tons of CO2, 3,490,383/116,800,000,000 metric tons or 8,661/2,500,000 tons of coal/Fe, 2,997/200,000 tons of solid waste, 411/100 acres of soil from being polluted, 8,661/20,000 metric tons of limestone, 104,529,609/14,800,000,000 tons of air pollution per year, 8,661/31,250,000 tons of fly ash, 3,829/17,682,115 tons of steam, 2,887/13,000,000 metric tons of H, 8,661/14,000,000 tons of Al, $10.80 in H2O

recycling one average battery (350/13 pound battery) could keep 35/2 pounds of Pb, and a 9/1,600 cubic meter container or 5 pounds of sulfuric acid out of landfills, 10 pounds of alkali, 100 tons of gypsum, 91/8,000 pounds of Te, 2,512/5 tons of calcium fluoride, 2 pounds of phosphoric acid

recycling One cell phone battery could save about 2 ounces of coltan

recycling one electric car battery could save 3-7 pounds of Template:Cobalt

recycling one Prius battery could save 2 pounds of Template:Neodymium, 22-33 pounds of Template:Lanthanum

Categories of batteries Edit

Recycling technologies Edit

  • Hydrometallurgical processes
    • Batteries concerned: Alkaline, Leclanché cells, Li
    • Could be in completed by other processes: Pyrometallurgical
  • Pyrometallurgical processes
    • Batteries concerned: Pb, NiMH, Ni-Cd, Alkaline, Leclanché cells
  • Thermical processes (pyrolyse)
    • Batteries concerned: Ni-Cd, NiMH, Alkaline, Leclanché cells with Hg
    • Could be in completed by other processes: Hydrometallurgical and Pyrometallurgical

Battery composition by typeEdit

Italics designates button cell types.
Bold designates secondary types.
All figures are percentages, on account of rounding they may not add up to exactly 100.

Type[1] Fe Mn Ni Zn Hg Li Ag Cd Co Al Pb Other KOH Paper Plastic Alkali C Acids Water Other
Alkaline 24.822.30.514.9 1.3 10.114
Zinc-carbon 16.815 19.4 0.10.8 0.7469.2 12.315.2
Lithium 50191 2 72 19
Mercury-oxide 37111431 2 3 1 37
Zinc-air 42 351 441 103
Lithium 60181 3 3 2 13
Alkaline 37231110.6 622 614
Silver oxide 422290.4 31 4 210.5 24
Nickel-cadmium 35 22 15 102 511
NiMH 201351 4 10 94 88
Li-ion 22 3 185 11 13 28
Lead-acid 654 10 16 5

Recycling processes Edit

  • There is a tax on the price of each battery. This money is used to fund the collects of batteries.
  • The batteries are collected. There are 2 possible ways of doing this:
    • By throwing the batteries in a special bin used for all-kind of recycling. The emptying of the bin is managed by the city (like ordinary waste).
    • The consumer brings back the batteries to a specific area. It could be a shop or a box placed in a public location (school).
  • Batteries are sorted by types.
  • Batteries are sent to specialized firms. These firms will use a recycling technology to gather the composites of the battery.
  • The results of the recycling are chemical elements that could be used again to make new batteries.

Laws Edit

In the United States, it is forbidden to throw out Ni-Cd batteries in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey and Vermont.

In the European Union edicted 2 directives:

  • 91/157 (18th march 1991)
  • 98/101 (22th december 1998)

The European Union is working on a third directive to force the organization of separated collects of used batteries (rechargeable and non-rechargeable).

Informations on battery recycling by country Edit

List of organizations collecting batteries.

Canada: the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) (Created in 1994) Belgium: BIBAT (Created in 1995)\

See alsoEdit



  1. [1] Battery Waste Management - 2006 DEFRA

External LinksEdit

Lead Acid Battery Recycling Plant

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