Lead-acid batteries contain substances that are toxic to the environment but are also commercially valuable. They can be recovered and recycled into new products.
Used lead-acid batteries (car batteries) contain lead, lead compounds and sulfuric acid and are classified as hazardous waste under the Hazardous Waste Act 1989. They should not be disposed of with the regular garbage, as their toxic contents may leach from landfills into the environment. If recycled, these chemicals can be effectively recovered and made into new products, requiring significantly less energy than refining primary ore. Many scrap metal operators will pay a small amount for your old lead acid batteries.
Scrap metal recyclers are the best option for a business needing to dispose of lead-acid batteries regularly. Almost all scrap metal merchants will accept used lead-acid batteries. Collection services are also available at most landfills, transfer stations, and automotive workshops.
What Happens When It’s Recycled?
Approximately 96 percent of the various components of lead acid batteries are recoverable. The lead plates are restored back to new battery standards, the hard plastic casing can be melted and extruded to produce plastic pellets and the acid is neutralised and discharged.
More Info & Sources
Recycling sign - Batteries, Lead Acid
Responsible Recycling Of Used Lead Acid Batteries: How to manage the environmental, financial and reputational risks
ABRI has prepared a short brochure outlining the basic requirements for the management of used lead acid batteries. This resource has been developed to help mechanics and electricians manage their business risks, avoid legal prosecution, protect the health and safety of workers and the general public, and to avoid environmental damage from spills or accidents.