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Battery Recycling

Environmental Benefits
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 Acrobat© Reader.


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/

Recycling Chart
Shows recycling data for newspapers, glass bottles, tires and aluminum cans as compared to lead-acid batteries.

recycling rates

Recycling Diagram
Recycling a spent lead-acid battery involves five basic steps:

recycling diagram

 

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.

Plastic
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.

Lead
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.

Sulfuric Acid
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.

 



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