Lead-acid batteries are the environmental success story of our time. More than
97 percent of all battery lead is recycled. Compared to 55% of aluminum soft
drink and beer cans, 45% of newspapers, 26% of glass bottles and 26% 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. The recycling cycle
goes on indefinitely. That means the lead and plastic in the lead-acid battery
in your car, truck, boat or motorcycle have been - and will continue to be
-- recycled many, many times. This makes lead-acid battery disposal extremely
successful from both environmental and cost perspectives.
U.S. State Lead-Acid Battery Laws
Click here to view a
chart that describes the lead-acid battery recycling laws in the states where they exist.
Click here for electronic links to Websites that contain state
recycling laws for automotive lead-acid batteries.
Click below for the BCI
model for lead-acid battery recycling legislation.
This sample has served as a model for many of the state recycling laws now
in place in the U.S.
Downloadable files require Adobe
Where Can You Recycle your Lead-Acid Batteries?
Battery Sales has 2 locations serving South Florida for their Battery Recycling
Needs. You may drop off your Lead-Acid Batteries at: Curtis Battery Sales
located at 1500 NW 20th Street / Miami, FL 33142 or at Battery Sales located
at 12275 NE 13th Avenue / North Miami, FL 33161
Where Can You Recycle your Other Batteries? Go to www.rbrc.org/call2recycle/
Shows recycling data for newspapers, glass bottles, tires and aluminum cans
as compared to lead-acid batteries.
Recycling a spent lead-acid battery involves five basic steps:
The battery is broken apart in a hammer mill, a machine that
hammers the battery into pieces.
The broken battery pieces go into a vat, where the lead and heavy materials
fall to the bottom while the plastic rises to the top. At this point, the
polypropylene pieces are scooped away and the liquids are drawn off, leaving
the lead and heavy metals. Each of the materials goes into a different "stream." We'll
begin with the plastic, or polypropylene.
The polypropylene pieces are washed, blown dry and sent to a plastic recycler
where the pieces are melted together into an almost-liquid state. The
molten plastic is put through an extruder that produces small plastic
pellets of a uniform size. Those pellets are sold to the manufacturer
of battery cases, and the process begins again.
The lead grids, lead oxide and other lead parts are cleaned and then melted
together in smelting furnaces.
The molten lead is poured into ingot molds. Large ingots, weighing about 2,000
pounds are called hogs. Smaller ingots, weighing 65 pounds, are called pigs.
After few minutes, the impurities, otherwise known as dross, float to the
top of the still-molten lead in the ingot molds. The dross is scraped away
and the ingots are left to cool.
When the ingots are cool, they are removed from the molds and sent to battery
manufacturers, where they are re-melted and used in the production of new
lead plates and other parts for new batteries.
Old battery acid can be handled in two ways.
The acid is neutralized with an industrial compound similar to household baking
soda. This turns the acid into water. The water is treated, cleaned, and
tested to be sure it meets clean water standards. Then it is released into
the public sewer system.
Another way to treat acid is to process it and convert it to sodium sulfate,
an odorless white powder that's used in laundry detergent, glass and textile
manufacturing. This takes a material that would be discarded and turns it
into a useful product.