Recycling Lead-Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are the environmental success story of our time. More than 97 percent of all battery lead is recycled. Compared to 55 percent of aluminum soft drink and beer cans, 45 percent of newspapers, 26 percent of glass bottles and 26 percent of tires, lead-acid batteries top the list of the most highly recycled consumer product.
The lead-acid battery gains its environmental edge from its closed-loop life cycle. The typical new lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic. When a spent battery is collected, it is sent to a permitted recycler where, under strict environmental regulations, the lead and plastic are reclaimed and sent to a new battery manufacturer.
Why recycle lead-acid batteries? Lead-acid spent batteries certain toxic components pose a potential risk to the environment and human health. However, recycling:
- Saves Natural Resources: By making products from recycled materials instead of virgin materials, we conserve land and reduce the need to mine for more minerals.
- Saves Energy: It takes less energy to make a recycled battery.
- Saves Clean Air and Water: In most cases, making products from recycled materials creates less air pollution and water pollution than making products from virgin materials.
As a lead-acid battery owner, you are responsible to ensure that your waste batteries are disposed of in accordance with state and federal laws. However, the laws and regulations for disposal of lead acid batteries vary from state to state. Nevertheless, some material handling dealers will pick up your battery at no charge and recycle it for you in accordance with local regulations at no charge. They will also provide you with a receipt or bill-of-lading which should have the quantities and serial numbers of the batteries you are disposing of.
Once the recycling location has accumulated enough product they will send it to a smelter that is EPA certified to recycle the product. The smelter will provide a Certificate of Recycling. A copy will be provided to the recycling location and to the consumer. This must be kept on file a minimum of five years.
Contact your local material handling dealer for more information and to make arrangements for pick-up and proper disposal of your waste batteries.