Scraponomics Episode 143: So, what's the deal with batteries?

Aug 04, 2016, 01:13 PM

I was reminded this week of how many people ask us at Friedland about recycling batteries. Here’s a few pointers on what types of batteries we take for scrap-recycling, and some suggestions of places for the types we don’t take.

By far, the majority of batteries we take for scrap-recycling are lead-acid batteries. These are most commonly used for land and water vehicles, as well as uninterrupted power supplies. Lead has become somewhat of a scary thing in the eyes of the public, and indeed, it needs to be handled carefully, but people forget that it’s actually a valuable commodity that’s used in a lot of products. That’s right, we purchase lead batteries. However, we only accept lead-acid batteries that are intact and not cracked. The cracking and reclaiming of the lead is done by large machines during the smelting process at a smelter.

Other batteries we take include lithium-ion, nickel cadmium, and nickel metal hydride batteries. These types of batteries are used in electronic applications like laptops, cell phones, and power drills. We used to be able to pay for them, but their values have diminished in recent years, so we only take them as a free drop-off now. And, you have to tape the contacts — that is, the part that connects to a device — before we can take them.

Unfortunately, we don’t take alkaline batteries, like AA, AAA, C, D, etc., as well as those circular lithium batteries. There just isn’t enough recoverable value to merit processing them. However, you can recycle them at places like Batteries Plus and Interstate All Battery Center. They’ll likely charge you to take them, but hey, it’s worth it.

The recyclability of batteries is often misunderstood, but there are options. You just have to know where they are. Hope this helps!

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