How to Dispose Of Car Batteries Properly?

How To Dispose Of Old Car Batteries

To put it simply, old car batteries can’t be disposed of in the same way you would get rid of your usual residential waste. All car batteries should be safely recycled in one of a range of local facilities, including scrap metal dealers, garages, and recycling centres.

As car batteries are designed with a whole host of toxic chemicals that can be dangerous not only for the environment, but our health too, they need to processed by experts. For instance, car batteries consist of hydrofluoric acid, which has the potential to permanently damage our lungs and eyes. As a result, the battery should be in the hands of an expert who knows precisely how to safely dispose of car batteries.

Final Words

Improper dumping of car batteries is not acceptable, much more with the legislations passed against the dumping of batteries in trash across various states in the US. Thus, most drivers and car owners are keen on learning how to dispose of car batteries properly. 

Car battery recycling is a brilliant move and goes a long way in reclaiming useful battery constituents while keeping the environment safe. So, rather than keeping your batteries littered around your garage, follow the expert advice explained within this write-up on where to drop off scrap batteries for recycling.


Part 3 of 7: Bring the battery to a recycling depot

Step 1: Finding recycling location. Use your local

Step 1: Finding recycling location. Use your local phone book, or use an online search engine such as Google to find locations near you that accept car batteries for recycling.

Sometimes your local dump or department of sanitation will have a recycling program for hazardous or toxic materials, but call and make sure they take used batteries before bringing it in. You can’t simply throw the battery in your recycling bin.

If you do a quick search online, some recycling programs offer pick-up services for certain hazardous materials. AAA has a great system for recycling old batteries called the AAA Great Battery Roundup program.

If you have a NiMH battery for a hybrid vehicle, check the label on the battery or call the car manufacturer to learn about proper recycling methods. In either scenario, with a lead-acid battery or NiMH battery, you might get paid for recycling.

Step 2: Confirm that they take car batteries. Call ahead to confirm they accept car batteries before bringing it in.

Step 3: Secure the battery in your vehicle. Place the battery in your vehicle’s trunk, hatch, or on the floor on a safe, disposable item. Use a section of plywood, a heavy plastic lid, or a metal item like a garbage can lid. Make sure it won’t slide around to prevent the heavy battery from damaging your car or other items around it.

Step 4: Check in with attendant. When you arrive at the battery recycling depot, check in with the attendant on duty. Inform them you wish to dispose of a car battery.

Step 5: Have your battery recycled. Have the attendant safely remove the old car battery from the back of your vehicle.

  • Tip: Some recyclers will pay you for the car battery. Check with the service you are using to determine if you can expect to receive anything for your old car battery.

Pro Tips to Dispose of a Car Battery 

You know you want more useful tips, so here’s everything we’ve got.

  • Be extra cautious if you’re removing an old lead-acid battery, as there’s a higher risk that this unit could have a leak.
  • Batteries weigh between 30 and 50 pounds, so make sure to brace yourself before lifting yours out of the engine bay. If you need some extra height to get a better grip, try using a stepping stool. 
  • Some metal recycling facilities will offer you cash in exchange for your old battery.
  • Never let your wrench touch the negative and positive terminals simultaneously, as touching both terminals could create a spark and even cause the battery to explode. 
  • You usually pay a ‘core charge’ when you buy a new battery, but if you give your old battery to the retailer, this charge is refunded.
  • If you don’t need a new battery, many auto parts stores, like AutoZone, will give you a gift card in exchange for your old battery.
  • Metal recycling establishments will often offer you cash for your old battery, as the lead inside it is worth money.
  • Dropping your old battery off somewhere that has a hazardous chemical pick-up/drop-off point should be your last option, as you’ll get the least return for your battery.
  • Some clamps require two wrenches to disconnect them, as they’re secured with a nut on both ends, so you might need to borrow a spare wrench. 

General Recycling Information

Earth 911 Find recycling guides for specific materials and tips for being eco-conscious. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Environmental Protection Agency Learn how reducing, reusing and recycling can help you, our community and the environment by saving money, energy and natural resources. We Followed a Soda Can on Its Infinite Voyage Through Austin’s Recycling Stream Read or listen to a KUT story about what happens after you place a can in your blue recycling bin.

Everything You’ll Need To Dispose of a Car Battery

We’re not psychic, nor are we snooping through your toolbox or garage, so here’s exactly what you’ll need to get the job done.

Tool List 

Organizing your tools and gear so everything is easily reachable will save precious minutes waiting for your handy-dandy child or four-legged helper to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch. (You won’t need a blowtorch for this job. Please don’t have your kid hand you a blowtorch.)

You’ll also need a flat workspace, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking. Check your local laws to make sure you’re not violating any codes when using the street because we aren’t getting your ride out of the clink.

Safely Disconnecting Your Battery

If your car isn’t starting or is struggling on hot or cold days, it may be time to replace the battery. However, make sure you properly test it before buying a new battery. Starting problems can also be caused by loose wiring or other easily fixed problems. You may also be able to charge your car battery.

Once you know it’s time to replace the battery, be sure to do disconnect it safely, following these steps:

  • Always remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal first.
  • Never allow your wrench to touch the positive and negative terminals at the same time. Your battery may be “dead” for the purposes of starting your car, but it usually still has some energy. Completing a circuit with your wrench and your body can be dangerous.
  • A battery is heavy. Lift with your knees, not your back, and watch your feet and fenders as you hoist it.

Recycling Old Batteries

Recycling car batteries is a brilliant move for keeping the environment safe and is obtainable legally because of the ban on the illegal disposal of batteries in the trash. 

So, how does auto battery recycling works?

The first step involves battery collection, as these companies set up collection points. After that, the machine breaks these batteries into smaller pieces while subjected to a hammer mill. These chunks flow to a receptacle where weighty materials like lead appear as sediments with the plastics floating atop. 

The next phase is the removal of plastics and liquids; the recycler melts and squeezes the plastics out as pellets. Kindly note that these plastic pellets can aid in manufacturing new battery cases—hence, battery manufacturers buy them after the recovery process.

The old battery acid gets reclaimed during this operation and converted to sodium sulfate, which is handy for producing glass, detergent, and textile. Finally, the recycler melts the chunks of lead, pours them into ingots before further liquefying to produce lead components (including lead plates) of batteries.

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