Battery recycling

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Different kinds of old batteries
A worker is recycling the lead from batteries.

Many batteries are thrown away in regular waste after they have been used. Battery recycling is a name of the process of separately collecting such batteries so that they can be disposed of properly. Batteries contain metals such as lead, copper or zinc. In the form that is used in the batteries, these metals are very harmful to the environment - most are toxic. Collecting the batteries allows to extract some of the metals, which can then be re-used - they are not thrown away. The part that cannot be extracted or re-used is dispoed in a for so that it is less harmful to the environment. For this reason, many countries have rules that say that a given percentage of all batteries must be re-cycled.

Battery composition by type[change | change source]

Italics designates button cell types.
Bold designates secondary types.
All figures are percentages; due to rounding they may not add up to exactly 100.

Type[1] Fe Mn Ni Zn Hg Li Ag Cd Co Al Pb Other KOH Paper Plastic Alkali C Acids Water Other
Alkaline 24.8 22.3 0.5 14.9 1.3 1 2.2 5.4 3.7 10.1 14
Zinc-carbon 16.8 15 19.4 0.1 0.8 0.7 4 6 9.2 12.3 15.2
Lithium 50 19 1 2 7 2 19
Mercury-oxide 37 1 1 14 31 2 3 1 3 7
Zinc-air 42 35 1 4 4 1 10 3
Lithium 60 18 1 3 3 2 13
Alkaline 37 23 1 11 0.6 6 2 2 6 14
Silver oxide 42 2 2 9 0.4 31 4 2 1 0.5 2 4
Nickel-cadmium 35 22 15 10 2 5 11
NiMH 20 1 35 1 4 10 9 4 8 8
Li-ion 22 3 18 5 11 13 28
Lead-acid 65 4 10 16 5

References[change | change source]

  1. Fisher, Karen; Erika Wallén, Pieter Paul Laenen and Michael Collins (18 Oct 2006), Battery Waste Management: Life Cycle Assessment, Environmental Resources Management, http://www.epbaeurope.net/090607_2006_Oct.pdf