Battery recycling

Battery recycling

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Battery recycling is a recycling
Recycling
Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

 activity that aims to reduce the number of batteries
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

 being disposed as municipal solid waste
Municipal solid waste
Municipal solid waste , commonly known as trash or garbage , refuse or rubbish is a waste type consisting of everyday items we consume and discard. It predominantly includes food wastes, yard wastes, containers and product packaging, and other miscellaneous inorganic wastes from residential,...

. Batteries contain a number of heavy metals
Heavy metals
A heavy metal is a member of a loosely-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties. It mainly includes the transition metals, some metalloids, lanthanides, and actinides. Many different definitions have been proposed—some based on density, some on atomic number or atomic weight,...

 and toxic
Toxic waste
Toxic waste is waste material that can cause death or injury to living creatures. It spreads quite easily and can contaminate lakes and rivers. The term is often used interchangeably with “hazardous waste”, or discarded material that can pose a long-term risk to health or environment.Toxic waste...

 chemicals, their dumping has raised concern over risks of soil contamination
Soil contamination
Soil contamination or soil pollution is caused by the presence of xenobiotic chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment....

 and water pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

.

Battery recycling by type


Most types of batteries can be recycled. However, some batteries are recycled more readily than others, such as lead-acid automotive batteries
Lead-acid battery
Lead–acid batteries, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté, are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, their ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells maintain a relatively large...

 (nearly 90% are recycled)

and button cell
Button cell
A watch battery or button cell is a small single cell battery shaped as a squat cylinder typically 5 to 12 mm in diameter and 1 to 6 mm high—like a button on a garment, hence the name. Button cells are used to power small portable electronics devices such as wrist watches, pocket...

s (because of the value and toxicity of their chemicals).

Other types, such as alkaline
Alkaline battery
Alkaline batteries are a type of primary batteries dependent upon the reaction between zinc and manganese dioxide . A rechargeable alkaline battery allows reuse of specially designed cells....

 and rechargeable
Rechargeable battery
A rechargeable battery or storage battery is a group of one or more electrochemical cells. They are known as secondary cells because their electrochemical reactions are electrically reversible. Rechargeable batteries come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging anything from a button cell to...

, can also be recycled.

Lead-acid batteries


These batteries include but are not limited to: car batteries
Car battery
An automotive battery is a type of rechargeable battery that supplies electric energy to an automobile. Usually this refers to an SLI battery to power the starter motor, the lights, and the ignition system of a vehicle’s engine...

, golf cart batteries, UPS batteries
Uninterruptible power supply
An uninterruptible power supply, also uninterruptible power source, UPS or battery/flywheel backup, is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source, typically mains power, fails...

, industrial fork-lift batteries, motorcycle
Motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

 batteries, and commercial batteries. These can be regular lead acid
Lead-acid battery
Lead–acid batteries, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté, are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, their ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells maintain a relatively large...

, sealed lead acid, gel type, or absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries.These are recycled by grinding them, neutralizing the acid, and separating the polymers from the lead. The recovered materials are used in a variety of applications, including new batteries.
The lead of lead-acid battery
Lead-acid battery
Lead–acid batteries, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté, are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, their ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells maintain a relatively large...

 can be recycled
Battery recycling
Battery recycling is a recycling activity that aims to reduce the number of batteries being disposed as municipal solid waste. Batteries contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals, their dumping has raised concern over risks of soil contamination and water pollution.-Battery recycling by...

. Elemental lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 is toxic and should therefore be kept out of the waste stream.
Many cities offer battery recycling
Battery recycling
Battery recycling is a recycling activity that aims to reduce the number of batteries being disposed as municipal solid waste. Batteries contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals, their dumping has raised concern over risks of soil contamination and water pollution.-Battery recycling by...

 services for lead-acid batteries. In some jurisdictions, including US states and Canadian Provinces, a refundable deposit is paid on batteries. This encourages recycling of old batteries instead of abandonment or disposal with household waste. In the United States, about 97% of lead from used batteries is reclaimed for recycling.

Businesses which sell new car batteries may also collect used batteries (and may be required to do so by law) for recycling. Some businesses will accept old batteries on a "walk-in" basis (not in exchange for a new battery). Most battery shops and recycling centres will pay for scrap batteries. This can be a lucrative business, enticing especially to risk-takers because of the wild fluctuations in the value of scrap lead that can occur overnight. When lead prices go up, scrap batteries can become targets for thieves.

Silver oxide batteries


Used most frequently in watches, toys and some medical devices, silver oxide batteries contain a small amount of mercury. In most jurisdictions there exists legislation to regulate the appropriate handling and disposal of silver oxide batteries to reduce discharge of mercury to the environment. Silver oxide batteries can be recycled to recover the mercury.

Battery composition by type


Italics designates button cell types.

Bold designates secondary types.

All figures are percentages, on account of rounding they may not add up to exactly 100.
Type Fe
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 
Mn
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

 
Ni
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 
Zn
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 
Hg
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 
Li
Lithium
Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of chemical elements. It is represented by the symbol Li, and it has the atomic number 3. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly...

 
Ag
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 
Cd
Cadmium
Cadmium is a chemical element with the symbol Cd and atomic number 48. This soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12, zinc and mercury. Similar to zinc, it prefers oxidation state +2 in most of its compounds and similar to mercury it shows a low...

 
Co
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

 
Al
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 
Pb
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 
Other KOH
Potassium hydroxide
Potassium hydroxide is an inorganic compound with the formula KOH, commonly called caustic potash.Along with sodium hydroxide , this colorless solid is a prototypical strong base. It has many industrial and niche applications. Most applications exploit its reactivity toward acids and its corrosive...

 
Paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

 
Plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 
Alkali
Alkali
In chemistry, an alkali is a basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal element. Some authors also define an alkali as a base that dissolves in water. A solution of a soluble base has a pH greater than 7. The adjective alkaline is commonly used in English as a synonym for base,...

 
C
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 
Acids  Water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 
Other
Alkaline
Alkaline battery
Alkaline batteries are a type of primary batteries dependent upon the reaction between zinc and manganese dioxide . A rechargeable alkaline battery allows reuse of specially designed cells....

 
24.8 22.3 0.5 14.9 1.3 1 2.2 5.4 3.7 10.1 14
Zinc-carbon  16.8 15 19.4 0.1 0.8 0.7 4 6 9.2 12.3 15.2
Lithium
Lithium battery
Lithium batteries are disposable batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. Depending on the design and chemical compounds used, lithium cells can produce voltages from 1.5 V to about 3.7 V, over twice the voltage of an ordinary zinc–carbon battery or alkaline battery...

 
50 19 1 2 7 2 19
Mercury-oxide
Mercury battery
A mercury battery is a non-rechargeable electrochemical battery, a primary cell. Due to the content of mercury, and the resulting environmental concerns, the sale of mercury batteries is banned in many countries. Both ANSI and IEC have withdrawn standards for mercury batteries...

37 1 1 14 31 2 3 1 3 7
Zinc-air
Zinc-air battery
Zinc–air batteries , and zinc–air fuel cells, are electro-chemical batteries powered by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from the air. These batteries have high energy densities and are relatively inexpensive to produce...

42 35 1 4 4 1 10 3
Lithium 60 18 1 3 3 2 13
Alkaline 37 23 1 11 0.6 6 2 2 6 14
Silver oxide
Silver-oxide battery
A silver oxide battery , not to be confused with a similar but different silver–zinc battery, which is a secondary cell, is a primary cell with relatively very high energy/weight ratio. They are costly due to the high price of silver...

42 2 2 9 0.4 31 4 2 1 0.5 2 4
Nickel-cadmium
Nickel-cadmium battery
The nickel–cadmium battery ' is a type of rechargeable battery using nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes....

35 22 15 10 2 5 11
NiMH 20 1 35 1 4 10 9 4 8 8
Li-ion 22 3 18 5 11 13 28
Lead-acid
Lead-acid battery
Lead–acid batteries, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté, are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, their ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells maintain a relatively large...

65 4 10 16 5

Battery recycling by location


European Union


In 2006 the EU passed the Battery Directive
Battery Directive
Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC, commonly known as the Battery Directive, regulates the manufacture and disposal of batteries in the European...

 of which one of the aims is a higher rate of battery recycling. The EU directive states that at least 25% of all the EU’s used batteries must be collected by 2012, and rising to no less than 45% by 2016, of which, that at least 50% of them must be recycled.
Recycling rate for 2002 (UK 2009)
Country
Belgium 59%
Sweden 55%
Austria 44%
Germany 39%
The Netherlands 32%
France 16%
United Kingdom 2%

United Kingdom


During the period April 2005 – March 2008 the UK non-governmental body WRAP

conducted trials of battery recycling methods around the UK. The methods tested were: Kerbside, retail drop-off, community drop-off, postal and, Hospital and fire station trials. The kerbside trials collected the most battery mass and were the most well received and understood by the public. The community drop-off containers which were spread around local community areas were also relatively successful in terms of mass of batteries collected. The lowest performing were the hospital and fire service trials (Although these served their purpose very well for specialist battery types like hearing aid and smoke alarm batteries). Retail drop off trials were the second most effective (by volume) method but one of the least well received and used by the public. Both the kerbside and postal trials received the highest awareness and community support.
Household batteries can be recycled in United Kingdom at council recycling sites as well as at some shops and shopping centres e.g. Dixons, Currys, The Link and PC World.
A scheme started in 2008 by a large retail company allowed household batteries to be posted free of charge in envelopes available at their shops. This scheme was cancelled at the request of the Royal Mail because of hazardous industrial battery waste being sent as well as household batteries.
An EU directive on batteries that came into force in 2009 means producers must pay for the collection, treatment and recycling of batteries. This has yet to be ratified into UK law however, so there is currently no real incentive for producers to provide the necessary services.
From 1 February 2010 batteries can be recycled anywhere the Be Positive sign appears.
Shops and online retailers that sell more than 32 kilograms of batteries a year must offer facilities to recycle batteries. This is equivalent to one pack of 4 AA batteries a day. Shops which sell this amount must by law provide recycling facilities as of 1 February 2010.
In Great Britain an increasing number of shops (Argos, Homebase, B&Q, and Tesco) are providing battery return boxes and cylinders for their customers.

North America


The rechargeable battery industry has formed the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation which operates a free battery recycling program, Call2Recycle
Call2Recycle
Call2Recycle® is the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America. Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted over 60 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from the solid waste stream and through a network of 30,000 public and 30,000 private collection sites...

, throughout the United States and Canada.
The program will provide businesses with prepaid shipping containers for rechargeable batteries of all types while consumers can drop off batteries at numerous participating collection centers. The organization claims that no component of any recycled battery eventually reaches a landfill.

Japan


There is no single national battery recycling law in Japan so the advice given is to follow local and regional statutes and codes in disposal of battery waste. The Battery association of Japan (BAJ) recommends that alkaline, zinc-carbon and lithium primary batteries can be disposed of as normal household waste.

The BAJ's stance on button cell and secondary batteries is toward recycling and of increasing national standardisation of procedures for dealing with these types of batteries.
In April 2004 the Japan Portable Rechargeable Battery Recycling Center (JBRC) was created to handle and promote battery recycling throughout Japan. They provide battery recycling containers to shops and other collection points.

See also

  • Electronic waste
    Electronic waste
    Electronic waste, e-waste, e-scrap, or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. There is a lack of consensus as to whether the term should apply to resale, reuse, and refurbishing industries, or only to product that cannot be used for its...

  • WEEE directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
  • Battery (electricity)
    Battery (electricity)
    An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

  • Rechargeable battery
    Rechargeable battery
    A rechargeable battery or storage battery is a group of one or more electrochemical cells. They are known as secondary cells because their electrochemical reactions are electrically reversible. Rechargeable batteries come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging anything from a button cell to...


External links