Not only can they be broken down and recycled but they can also be efficiently reconditioned to be reused again in cars and trucks.
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I worked in several used-car lots where we used reconditioned batteries exclusively. We would pay $15-$25 in some cases for a reconditioned battery that would last for several years.
Although the gentleman that we bought the batteries from was in it for the money and not to save the environment he was actually doing both. In some cases he was paid to dispose of the batteries or received them at no charge.
When to recycle a car battery
An interesting fact is that often the battery acid is actually neutralized and converted into sodium sulfate that is used in many laundry detergents.
The plastic from the battery case is usually melted down and recycled similar to other plastics. The lead that is contained in the battery and accounts for 50% of the total battery can be melted down and poured into slabs and then purified.
The fact that many parts of a car battery can be recycled has placed some additional value on this commonly replaced automotive component.
If you go into an auto parts store and buy a new battery they may charge you a $5-$10 core charge that will be refunded to you when you return the old battery. This is to provide motivation for recycling car batteries properly.
I add to this blog about once a week when possible. See some the latest posts to this blog about auto repair.