How to Recycle a Car Battery

Learn about the ecofriendly ways to dispose of car batteries

illustration of "green" car and clean emissions from recycling demonstrated by bright flowers coming from the exhaust. Getty

How to Recycle a Car Battery

Disposing of car batteries is more intricate than simply tossing them in the trash. These batteries, containing lead and sulfuric acid, are hazardous waste and need to be handled with care. Fortunately, there are ecofriendly ways to dispose of them, ensuring we protect our environment and comply with regulations.

AAA has been working for more than 25 years to properly dispose of car batteries. We’ve learned that improper disposal of car batteries can have harmful consequences. If batteries end up in landfills or incinerators, the lead and sulfuric acid can contaminate soil, water and air. This contamination not only affects the surrounding environment, but also poses a threat to human health.

dead and old batteries piled high Getty

DIY Ways to Recycle a Car Battery

When a car battery reaches its end of life, recycling is the preferred option. This proper disposal involves taking your old battery to a certified recycling center or an automotive shop that offers recycling services. These facilities have the means to safely dismantle and recycle the components of the battery, including reclaiming the lead to be used in new batteries.

Another avenue for disposal is to return the old battery when purchasing a new one. Many retailers offer a discount on your new battery when you bring in your old one for recycling. Typically, when you buy a battery, you'll encounter a core charge, which is a deposit added to your purchase. Upon returning the old battery, this deposit is refunded. This practice not only ensures the battery is disposed of responsibly, but also could save you money.

Additionally, community hazardous waste collection programs often accept car batteries. These programs, typically run by local or state governments, provide a safe disposal option for various types of hazardous waste, including batteries.

Recycling Car Batteries Helps the Environment

Correctly disposing of a car battery means recycling it in a way that safeguards the environment and adheres to local laws. By choosing to recycle, you’re not just getting rid of an old battery; you're contributing to a cycle of sustainability and preventing hazardous materials from harming the ecosystem.

Recycling car batteries also helps reduce the demand for new batteries to be produced, which requires raw materials and energy. By properly disposing of old batteries through recycling, we can lessen our carbon footprint and conserve valuable resources.

It is all our responsibility to ensure that vehicle batteries are disposed of properly and safely through recycling or hazardous waste programs. By doing so, we can protect our environment, conserve resources and promote a sustainable future for all. So next time you have an old car battery to dispose of, remember the ecofriendly options available and make a positive impact on our local environment and fresh water.

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