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Battery Recycling: What Happens Next?

For many businesses, batteries are a necessary part of day-to-day operations. Large batteries are used to power equipment, machinery, and tools. However, with time, these batteries deteriorate and must be replaced.

This is when many businesses opt to recycle their batteries. Recycling batteries has numerous benefits and makes it easy for businesses to safely dispose of dead batteries. In most cases, a company will employ a service to come to pick up batteries on site and haul them away to be recycled elsewhere.

Once a business’ batteries are carted away, you might wonder, what happens next? What is the process used to ensure that the caustic materials in batteries are no longer a threat to the environment and how much of the material can be repurposed?

If you’ve ever had questions such as these, read on to learn more about the process of recycling batteries.

Broken Apart

Once your batteries are collected, they are carefully shipped to a recycling facility. These facilities are designed to handle the hazardous materials found in batteries and have proper mitigation in place to ensure that the corrosive materials and heavy metals do not damage the local environment.

Each battery chemistry is recycled in a unique way. The specific method for recycling your battery will depend on the type. However, the first step in battery recycling is usually the breaking down of the outer casing of the battery. Batteries are often designed with an exterior shell that ensures that all of the corrosive materials of the battery are contained safely. In order to recycle each part of the battery, this casing has to be broken apart or disassembled. This allows the recycling facility to access the valuable materials inside. Depending on the type of casing, the outer shell can also be recycled and the materials reused. Often, the casing will be designed with plastics, which can then be melted down and turned into additional upcycled materials.

Melted or Crushed

Once the casing has been removed, the internal components are separated and either melted, crushed, or broken apart. To separate these materials, the battery pieces will be placed in a large vat. Inside this vat, the heavy metals will fall to the bottom, allowing the materials to be separated from one another.

Each internal material is sorted individually by type. This allows the facility to clean and process each type of material in the fashion best suited to the material.

This process requires highly specialized equipment and often utilizes extremely hot temperatures to melt down heavy metals.

A few of the common materials recycled from batteries and the matching process include the following:

  • Lead: Lead is melted in a smelting furnace. The molten lead is then poured into molds. Once the lead has cooled, it is removed from the mold and shipped to manufacturers for use in the creation of new batteries and lead plates.
  • Plastic: Any plastic materials are washed and dried. Once they are clean, they can be sent to a plastic processing facility to be turned into an array of new plastic products.
  • Sulfuric Acid: The acid in a lead-acid battery is neutralized through the use of an industrial compound. This essentially turns the acid into water, which can then be treated, cleaned, and tested before being released into the local sewer system.

In order to ensure that no toxic materials are expelled during the process, recycling facilities take careful measures. These facilities are required to meet strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines to ensure that they do not create pollution while processing the battery materials. The work is difficult, costly, and dangerous, which is why very few businesses can handle recycling in-house.

Returned into the Product Materials Stream

Once the materials have been sorted, cleaned, and processed, they can be returned to the product materials stream. How much of the original materials can be repurposed depends on the type of battery. However, for most lead-acid batteries, 100 percent of the lead contained in the battery can be recycled into new batteries.

The materials that are recycled from batteries are often extremely valuable. Many of the heavy metals found in batteries are difficult to acquire. To secure more of these materials, extensive mining must take place. This drives up the cost of the materials, particularly as more and more manufacturers rely on these materials for new products. As the electric vehicle market continues to grow, this will only heighten the shortage of these materials.

However, by recycling batteries, businesses can help pour these valuable materials back into the manufacturing market. This allows what was once toxic waste to contribute to a sustainable future.

A single load of batteries can be recycled back into the product stream to help design new batteries, electronics, and equipment. There are numerous possibilities for the use of the materials, and as recycling methods continue to improve, the amount of material that can be salvaged will only increase.

Our Battery Recycling Pickup Process

If you are interested in contributing to the positive effects of recycling batteries, our team is here to help. When you work with Battery Recyclers of America, you are working with experts in the field. Working with our team is simple. First, we invite you to connect with one of our experts. From here, we can provide you with a custom solution based on your needs. We will want to know a little bit about the number of batteries you recycle, as well as the type of batteries you recycle. The good news is that we handle numerous types of batteries, including both lead-based and lithium batteries.

From here, we will design the right pickup frequency for your needs. Our experienced logistics team will create all shipping paperwork and hazardous labeling when necessary. We provide this ahead of time and schedule your battery shipment according to your business needs.

In many cases, you can even receive payment for your load of batteries the same day. We offer full transparency throughout the entire process, making sure that you understand the exact sequence of events.

For more information about how we can help you recycle your business’ batteries and turn them into money, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can either contact us online through our digital form or give our team a call at 866-290-3849 to learn more.

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