Recycling Batteries - What Really Happens?

Recycling is more relevant than ever. In general we are making better and better decisions as humanity to intentionally recycle what we can. However, it's always interesting to know how things are recycled.

In this instance let's look at batteries. What actually happens to them once we've used them up? How are they recycled? Is it different depending on the battery? Let’s take a look at a few different types...


Alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 9V, etc.) are recycled 100%. The recycling process separates them into 3 different products that are reintroduced in to the market place for reuse.

Lead Acid

These batteries are broken into plastics, lead and sulfuric acid. The plastics are melted and put through an extruder that produces small plastic pellets for reuse. The lead parts are cleaned and heated inside a smelting furnace where impurities separate and float to the top. What’s left is can be re-melted and reused in new batteries. Sulfuric Acid is neutralized and turned into water which is then treated, cleaned and tested to ensure it meets clean water Standards.

Lithium Ion

Commonly known as the batteries you find in a laptop or cellphone, lithium ion batteries are 100% recycled. The plastics and metal components are separated and the metals are then heated in order to segregate the different materials. i.e. nickel, iron, manganese, and chromium)

These are just a few of the battery types we come in contact with on a regular basis. Understanding the components and what happens during the recycling process helps us comprehend the impact that we have when we choose to recycle!

Source: Battery Solutions

ER2 is an electronic recycling company located in Phoenix, Arizona and Memphis, Tennessee servicing all of the United States and Canada. Providing services that include: Secure Hard Drive Shredding, Electronic Recycling, Computer Recycling, E-Waste Recycling, IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) Solutions and Free Pick-up.

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