When you have old household batteries to dispose of, the responsible thing to do with them is to take them to a specified collection point or recycling centre. This is because batteries are classified as hazardous waste, meaning they have a significant impact on the environment and it’s dangerous to throw them out with the rest of your household rubbish.
Many resources go into creating batteries, so you may want to use rechargeable batteries. They produce far less waste than disposable batteries, and are perfect if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint.
Even if you decide to use rechargeable batteries, these contain a number of hazardous metals so when you finally do need to dispose of them, you should always take them to a recycling plant or return them to the manufacturer.
Your local council may offer battery recycling schemes, and you will be able to find battery recycling containers in the majority of supermarkets and stores.
The recycling process
Different types of batteries are recycled in different ways, but for common household alkaline batteries (such as AA, AAA, D, C, 9V), a mechanical separation process separates the components into three different products in a special ‘room temperature’ mechanical separation process.
The three products include:
- Zinc and manganese concentrate
- Plastic, paper and brass
In order to off-set the cost of recycling the old battery, all of these products will be sold on again and re-enter the market and many batteries are now 100% recycled.
Recycling lithium batteries
If you’re using lithium batteries, these are recycled in a different way. A high speed hammer or shredder is used to expose the contents of the batteries and then submerged in caustic water to neutralise the electrolytes. At the same time, both ferrous and non-ferrous metals are recovered from the water and this scrap metal is sold on to specialist metal recyclers.
The caustic water solution is then filtered, and any carbon recovered is collected and transformed into sheets of moist carbon. The lithium hydroxide in the solution is then turned into technical grade lithium carbonate. This white powder is subsequently used for making foil for batteries, lithium ingot metal and in the production of sulphur dioxide batteries.
For more information and services offered at Pure Clean Waste Solutions, don’t hesitate to call 0161 430 1111 or contact us online today.