Battery Recycling:

  • Battery Disposal Containers Supplied
  • Safe handling of Corrosive Materials
  • Prompt Pick-Up Service
  • Legal Battery Disposal
  • Safe for People and the Environment

Battery Recycling

Alkaline, Lead Acid, Lithium Ion, Nickel Cadmium, Zinc Air, Silver Oxide, VRLA…

The Need for Battery Recycling

Batteries contain metals, liquids, and other materials that are flammable, toxic and hazardous to the environment if they are not handled and disposed of properly. Those materials can include lead, zinc, nickel-cadmium, sulfuric acid, mercury, plastic, lithium, and others. When you use an R2 Certified recycler like Modern Waste, you are ensuring that the dangerous materials contained in the batteries are not making their way into the land fill where they can seep into local waterways.

How Are Batteries Recycled?

Each type of battery has different processes for material recovery and recycling. Batteries like lithium ion tool batteries may be handled different than lithium ion cell phone batteries even though they are the same chemistry. Tool batteries are made up of a group of smaller cells or smaller batteries put together. Those cells can be removed from the battery and tested individually. Cells that test to high enough standards can be reused and defective or substandard cells are sent for material recovery to make new products. An example process is described below for lead acid batteries:

Wole Lead Acid Batteries

The batteries are broken apart in a hammer mill, a machine that beats the battery into pieces. The broken battery pieces are then placed into a vat, where the lead and heavy materials fall to the bottom and the plastic floats. The polypropylene pieces are removed and the liquids are drawn off, leaving the lead and heavy metals. Each of the materials goes into a separate recycling “stream”.


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. The pellets are put back into manufacturing battery cases and the process begins again.


Lead grids, lead oxide and other lead parts are cleaned and heated within smelting furnaces. The molten lead is then poured into ingot molds. After a few minutes, the impurities float to the top of the still molten lead in the ingot molds. These impurities are scraped away and the ingots are left to cool. When the ingots are cool, they’re removed from the molds and sent to battery manufacturers, where they’re re-melted and used in the production of 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. Neutralization turns the acid into water. The water is then treated, cleaned, tested in a waste water treatment plant to be sure it meets clean water standards.
  • The acid is processed and converted to sodium sulfate, an odorless white powder that’s used in laundry detergent, glass and textile manufacturing.

Lead acid batteries are closed-loop recycled, meaning each part the old batteries is recycled into a new battery. It is estimated that 98% of all lead acid batteries are recycled.

What Batteries Can We Recycle for You?

We can recycle virtually all types of batteries. In most cases, it is either best practice or required to separate batteries by chemistry type. Most of the time, the chemistry is identified on the side or top of each battery. Often times, there is an abbreviation used to designate the battery chemistry. The following list shows the most popular battery chemistries and some of their abbreviations:

  • Lead Acid (Pb)
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh)
  • Lithium Ion (Li-ion)
  • Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
  • Alkaline
  • Lithium Primary
  • Silver Oxide

Modern Waste makes it simple for you to have comprehensive and compliant battery recycling services that adhere to all applicable local, state and federal rules and guidelines. You Make ONE Call or Click:

  • We will provide the equipment you need
  • We will train you on what you need to know
  • We will come to you to pick up or you can drop off
  • We will record what we receive from you in our database
  • We will shred, wipe, recycle or dispose of your waste
  • We will provide certificates and reports as needed

Contact us today to speak to a specialist that can help you custom make a program that best suits your organization’s needs. Call 916-249-4657 or click the orange “Get Started” button at the top of the screen to begin your journey to a simplified solution.

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