Lead-Acid Battery Recycling – All You Need to Know
Lead-acid batteries are used to power various vehicles, including trucks, trains, cars, buses, boats, etc., across the globe. These batteries provide a stable electricity supply to the electrical system of the vehicles. Moreover, during power outages, lead-acid batteries offer pollution-free power to cities. Today, they are used in almost every organisation and home around the world.
However, lead is a harmful component, and its excessive exposure can have a serious impact on health and the environment. This is why it is extremely important to focus on lead-acid battery recycling. 97% of lead-acid batteries are recycled in the USA. The growing environmental concerns associated with these batteries have been the primary driving force. More than 50% of the lead supply is generated from lead-acid battery recycling. The primary objective of lead-acid battery recycling is to protect the disposal of these hazardous materials into landfills. Batteries needed to be collected from the household. Moreover, old batteries can leak and can cause damage to the surrounding region, which further makes their recycling imperative.
Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Process
Once lead-acid batteries are collected, they are crushed into small pieces, then various components are segregated out of the battery. Once the pieces are crushed using a hammer mill, the broken parts are put into a vat. Inside the vat, lead and heavy materials drop to the bottom, whereas plastic floats on the surface. Subsequently, the plastic pieces are scooped out, and liquid is removed, leaving just the lead and metals. From here, each material goes through the different recycling processes.
Lead in the Battery
Lead components such as lead oxide, lead grids, etc., are cleaned and heated using smelters. Once the lead is melted, it is poured into an ingot mould, and impurities come to the top. While it is hot, the impurities are removed, and ingot is left to cool. Once the lead has been cooled and solidified, it is taken out of the mould and sent to battery companies where the lead is again melted and used in producing new batteries.
The plastic used in lead-acid batteries is washed, dried, and sent to the plastic recycler. There, the plastics are melted into a liquid state. The melted plastic is then inserted in an extruder that produces small plastic pellets. These pellets are used in manufacturing battery cases.
Sulfuric Acid Recycling
Sulfuric acid from the lead batteries is either neutralised and converted into water or processed and transformed into sodium sulfate. When it is converted into water, it is clean and treated in a wastewater treatment facility to ascertain if it adheres to the clean water standards. Moreover, if sulfuric acid is converted into sodium sulfate, it is used in the production of textiles, glass, detergent, etc.
Basically, 80% of the material generated in lead-acid battery recycling can be reused. Each part of the battery is recycled to produce new batteries.
Benefits of Lead-Acid Battery Recycling
Recycling can be of immense benefit to your environment and community in multiple ways. Similar to any other component, the lead-acid battery recycling removes harmful materials and turns them into new products. The following are some of the important benefits of lead-acid battery recycling:
1. Adhering to the Country’s Regulations
The US Federal and State law lays down specific requirements for recycling batteries. As per the law, certain batteries, such as lithium-based batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, and lead-acid batteries must be recycled. Failure to comply with the law can result in a heavy fine.
2. Conserve Resources
Lead battery manufacturing primarily relies on the lead, which is expensive and hard to obtain. Additionally, mining battery materials comes at a high cost, both to the environment and humans. By lead-acid battery recycling, companies can reduce their reliance on new raw materials and significantly contribute to the conservation of resources.
3. Prevents Serious Environmental Damages
Lead is a hazardous component, and its exposure can do serious damage to the environment and humans. When batteries are dumped in landfills, they tend to oxidize, resulting in the chemicals being leached into the ground. This harmful chemical eventually makes its way into the water supply. Lead-acid battery recycling ensures that such chemical substances don’t end up in the ground in the first place.
4. Get Paid to Recycle
Your old dead batteries are worth some money; think about that next time you toss them out. People often think that old batteries are useless once they stop working. However, materials inside the dead battery still hold some value. Some recyclers pay you money when you give them recycled batteries. How much money you get entirely depends on the type of batteries you have.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are concerned about environmental safety or want to make some extra money, there are multiple reasons to contribute to lead-acid battery recycling. Ensure that you handle your lead-acid battery carefully in order to mitigate its harmful effects on the environment and your family.