Dead Batteries can be Recycled and Repurposed
Recycling batteries means reducing waste and repurposing them to create new products and batteries.
Billions of batteries are purchased every year and are used to power clocks, remote controls, smoke detectors and much more. But what happens when the batteries don’t hold their charge and are no longer useful? What not to do is throw them in the garbage. If batteries, especially those that are lithium-based, are thrown in the garbage, they can cause sparks that can endanger individuals or surrounding properties. Other types of batteries, such as the ones containing nickel, can contaminate the environment if they are not disposed of properly. The solution? Recycling your batteries.
Recycling batteries helps conserve natural resources. It takes less energy and releases less greenhouse gas emissions to recycle lead and other metals than to mine them from the earth every time a new battery is needed. When batteries are recycled, the materials used to make them are extracted and repurposed. When lead acid batteries are recycled, the battery is crushed into small pieces. The lead is separated from the plastic, then melted, purified and made into new batteries. When lithium-ion batteries are recycled, their components are broken down and used in stainless steel production, magnets and fertilizers.
Call2Recycle is Canada’s largest, most reliable battery recycling program. They have been around for over 25 years and have successfully diverted almost 40 million kilograms of used batteries from the landfill. They have over 9000 drop-off locations across the country. Many drop-off locations are found in pharmacies, hardware stores and grocery stores. The company collects single-use batteries (found in fire alarms or watches), rechargeable batteries (found in laptops and cellphones) and even eMobility batteries (found in eBikes). Once the batteries are collected, they are sorted according to weight and battery type and sent to the recycling plant for processing. The recycling plant extracts the chemicals and metals during the processing stage to manufacture new products. Call2Recycle has created pots and pans from used nickel batteries, golf clubs out of lithium-based primary batteries, and even sunscreen from used alkaline batteries.
In 2022, the company announced that Canadians recycled almost 4.4 million kilograms of batteries and even set new collection records.
- British Columbia diverted over 856,000 kilograms of used batteries from the landfill- its best collection year to date.
- Saskatchewan set a provincial collection record of over 109,000 kilograms. This is the province’s second year using this program.
- Manitoba beat its records by collecting over 153,000 kilograms.
- Ontario collected 1,415,000 kilograms after only two years in operation.
- Quebec collected 1,429,000 kilograms of used batteries.
- Prince Edward Island achieved its best year of collections, with over 42,000 kilograms collected.
Recycling used batteries in designated recycling points is the best way to reduce waste from the world’s landfills safely. These efforts help reduce environmental pollution, conserve energy, and minimize the need for mines and mineral extraction. Collect your used batteries, and drop them off every three months to avoid corrosion and help create new batteries and products.