The world is becoming increasingly powered by electricity and the automotive industry is one of the biggest consumers. An energy-storing device and essential component of your vehicle, batteries come in different forms, such as lead-acid and lithium-ion.
Lead-acid batteries are still the most widely used and are composed of 60-75% lead, lead dioxide, and a sulfuric acid solution electrolyte. As you can imagine, any toxic elements like these can be hazardous to the environment. This is why it’s important to properly dispose of batteries by allowing them to be recycled.
As for lithium-ion batteries, with the large growth in electric vehicle (EV) technology globally, the demand for batteries is expected to grow significantly. This electrification of transport will account for the vast majority of battery demand, and as the graph below illustrates, production is set to increase exponentially.
Projected global battery demand from 2020 to 2030, by application
Reasons to recycle your used car battery
Scientists are constantly looking for more sustainable solutions toward a more earth-friendly future. Until then, we as consumers can still play our part in the fight for a cleaner planet by reducing, reusing, and recycling as much as possible. Car batteries are one of the most important components for recycling. Here’s why:
1. Keeps it out of landfill sites
If a battery is simply thrown away in your municipal garbage bin, it ends up in a landfill site. The problem with this is that it eventually corrodes and starts to leak chemicals into the soil. These chemicals have a detrimental effect on the environment and to our health.
2. Health consciousness
Not recycling a battery means that chemicals can find their way into the ocean, in our food, and in our drinking water. The effects of lead in the human body is detrimental to good health, and exposure to high levels can cause kidney and brain damage, anaemia, and other problems.
It’s particularly important for pregnant women to be aware of the long-term repercussions that chemical poisoning can cause to unborn babies. Children are highly susceptible to the effects of lead and it can damage a developing baby’s nervous system.
3. Limits the use of non-renewables
The production of batteries make use of raw-earth materials such as lithium, nickel, lead, aluminium, copper, cobalt, and so on. These are non-renewable and expensive to mine, but by recycling every battery produced, a large percentage of resources can be saved.
4. Reduces the impact of mining
New, as well as abandoned mines are responsible for significant damage in many ways. They pollute the waters, can release potentially toxic metals into the air, harm wildlife and their habitats, and are unhealthy and dangerous places to work.
5. Reduces battery costs
This is a major benefit to you as a motorist. The raw materials used in producing a battery can be recycled many times over – in fact, almost infinitely. Battery manufacturers can extract the raw materials to make new batteries, thereby closing the loop rather than continue with a make, use, and dispose system. This in turn will help reduce manufacturing costs and the price you ultimately have to pay.
Where to take your battery for recycling
Recycling helps us move towards a goal of zero landfill, better health for the planet and those who live on it, and save us money. There are a many ways to get rid of your old car battery safely:
- The easiest way is to leave your old battery with your battery centre when you buy a new one. Battery materials have value, therefore battery retailers will keep your old car battery for recycling and likely offer you a rebate on the new one.
- Registered battery recycling companies like BHGPower will buy your old or second hand lead-acid battery. You can drop it off or they may collect if you wish and provide you with a disposal certificate.
- Scrap Battery, a division of First National Battery, focus solely on the collection and recycling of used lead acid batteries across SA.
Did you know?
Lead-acid batteries are 90-99% recyclable. Willard® Batteries has a well-documented legacy of recycling scrap lead-acid batteries to manufacture new batteries.
Recycling conserves resources, reduces pollution and contributes to the economy all in one go. Now is the time for South Africans to make a concerted effort to recycle their old, used car batteries.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of the content.
Suggestion: Update landing pages to talk about what SQ are doing about recycling.