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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.

Recycling one car battery (2 pounds of plastic) can save 25 pounds of Pb, 98,000 btus of Energy, 245/297 pounds of Al, 48 gallons of H2O

Categories of batteries

Recycling technologies

  • 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
  • Chemical processes
    • Batteries concerned: Mn, Zn

Recycling processes

  • 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.


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

List of organizations collecting batteries.

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

External Links

Lead Acid Battery Recycling Plant

Battery Recycling Plant Oceania