Why You Should Recycle Your Old Car Battery

Why You Should Recycle Your Old Car Battery
| By: Christian Brothers Automotive

We are encouraged constantly to recycle. Recycle paper, plastic products, milk jugs, cardboard, and more. The products made these days with recycled material are fascinating. Did you know you can buy clothes that are made entirely from recycled water bottles? Yep! As cool as that is, there’s still a lot of used material that isn’t recycled. Whatever your stance is on recycling, please recycle your old car battery!

How to Dispose of Car Batteries

You’ll have to replace many different parts of your car over time to keep it running. Brake pads wear out, oil gets dirty, and, eventually, your battery will lose the ability to hold a charge. When this happens, you'll need your battery replaced.

While modern car batteries are lasting longer and longer, they don't last forever. Replacing it is a must when the time comes, but what should you do with your old car battery? We trust that many of you leave the old battery with the store who put the new battery in your car, but we also know that lots of people change out their own batteries.

At Christian Brothers Automotive, we’re big advocates for recycling, especially when it involves car batteries. In this blog we’ll share why recycling your battery is so important and how easy it is to recycle your old battery when it's time for a new one.

Benefits Of Recycling Your Old Car Battery

When you recycle your old car battery, you won’t have to worry about how to dispose of it. Plus, we believe the benefits are worth it.

Help The Environment

Recycling your old car battery keeps hazardous materials from entering and polluting landfills. Car batteries are made up of lead, plastic, and acid – all of which are harmful when not recycled correctly. Keeping these out of landfills and in a recycling facility is the right thing to do for the environment.

Avoid Breaking Any Laws

Nearly all states have laws mandating that batteries be properly disposed of or recycled. In most cases, this includes lead-acid batteries like the one found in your car.

Instead of dumping your car battery in an undisclosed location or even putting it out on trash day, recycle it through a battery retailer or recycling facility. In some states, battery manufacturers must implement and fund an approved collection program. This ensures you can easily comply with local laws!

Reduce New Materials in New Batteries

Recovered materials from retired EV batteries can also be used to make new ones, reducing the need for raw materials and the cost of batteries.

While you may not see this benefit instantly, recycling car batteries has a long-term impact on the economy and environment beyond keeping them out of landfills.

How Are Car Batteries Recycled?

Car batteries are constructed using a number of materials, the majority of which are recyclable in various ways. Most commonly, the recycling process begins with the collection and transportation of spent car batteries to a processing facility. There the batteries are broken down into plastic, lead, and battery acid:

Plastic

First, there’s plastic. The housing, including their outer shell, lid, and even carrying handle (if it has one), are all constructed from plastic which can be melted down and reused to create new batteries in the future.

Lead

Second, batteries themselves are constructed using lead grids and terminals. This lead will progressively degrade over time, but any remaining unharmed material can be melted down and formed into new grids.

Likewise, lead oxide, which is created through the chemical reaction that allows batteries to work, can also be chemically refined into pure lead once again, creating more material that can be used to manufacture new batteries down the road.

Battery Acid

The lead-acid battery is the most commonly used battery in a gas-powered car. It uses sulfuric acid (aka, battery acid) as the electrolyte conductor, which is a highly toxic substance. Improper handling of sulfuric acid can produce toxic fumes and even burn through iron.

Though dangerous in its current form, choosing to recycle your battery leads to a safe transformation of this toxic material. Battery acid can be neutralized with a basic compound (a material that counteracts the acidic properties), which transforms it into water. Once the water is treated and tested, it can be let free in the sewer without harming the environment.

In some cases, sulfuric acid can be converted into sodium sulfate, a commonly used ingredient in detergents, glass, and other types of manufacturing. Rather than sitting in a dump as toxic waste, this material can be converted and reused, which reduces the need for and consumption of raw resources.

How to Recycle Your Old Car Battery

While you can certainly explore your options, the easiest way to get your car powered again is to drop by one of our Christian Brothers Automotive auto repair shops for battery service. We will not only help you get a durable, long-lasting, high-performance car battery replacement, but we will also receive your old battery and handle the recycling for you!

Our locations are equipped to handle battery recycling, which means you can bring your old batteries to us, and we’ll ensure they’re properly disposed of with an appropriate recycling service.

Need battery services? Find your neighborhood's Christian Brothers Automotive for all your car battery needs!

This blog was written August, 2019, and updated September, 2023, to reflect current trends and best practices.

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