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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 people concerned about contamination, particularly of soil contamination and water pollution, by the addition of heavy metals and other toxic chemicals from batteries.


Types of batteries

Most types of batteries can be recycled. However, some batteries are recycled more readily than others, such as lead-acid automotive batteries (nearly 90% are recycled)[1] and button cells (because of the value and toxicity of their chemicals).[1] Other types, such as alkaline and rechargeable, can also be recycled.


Lead-acid batteries

These batteries include but are not limited to: Car Batteries, Golf Cart Batteries, UPS Batteries, Industrial Fork-Lift Batteries, Motorcycle Batteries, and Commercial Batteries. These can be regular lead acid, sealed lead acid, Gel Type, or absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries.These are recycled by pounding them, neutralizing the acid, and separating the polymers from the lead. The recovered materials are used in a variety of applications, including new batteries.

Silver Oxide Batteries

Used most frequently in watches, toys and some medical devices silver oxide batteries can become highly hazardous at the end of their useful life. After a period of use of approximately five years the batteries may begin to leak their contents which contains mercury, posing a serious health risk. The mercury will begin to corrode the inner shell of the battery. In most jurisdictions there exists legislation to regulate the appropriate handling and disposal of silver oxide batteries in order to minimize the risk to public health and the environment.These are recycled by shredding them and recovering the mercury.

Battery options by location

United Kingdom

Household batteries can be recycled in United Kingdom at council recycling sites as well as at commercial stores (e.g. Dixons, Currys, The Link and PC World [2]).

In Wales, England and Scotland a very small number of Argos, Homebase, B&Q, and Tesco stores are taking batteries back in store. [3][4]

A UK scheme allows household batteries that have been securely wrapped in a plastic bag and then inserted inside a Jiffy bag or a strong box to posted free of charge. There is a list of these Freepost addresses for Tesco, EveryReady, Energiser, Duracell, Sainsburys and other major producers and supermarkets at 'Green Batteries' Freepost Recycling. And a UK Battery Recycling Guide for Business is available at'UK only recycles 4% of household batteries.

United States

Battery recycling is the USA is explained in more detail at the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Also in USA, Batteries Plus Stores recycle many types of batteries as part of the industry recycling initiatives through the Battery Council International trade organization.

See also


  1. ^ a b Battery recycling in USA. US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  2. ^ Guardian Newspaper Online, Leo Hickman 13-12-2007. Battery Recylcing and Ethical Living. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  3. ^ Info on store takeback. Press article from 'Register Hardware 27-10-2006. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  4. ^ Info on recycling. WRAP - UK based Waste and Resources Action Programme. Retrieved 9 September 2008.

External links


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