What is there to know about car battery recycling?

Used car and other vehicle batteries are considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of appropriately through battery recycling programs.

Here, we provide some insight into car battery recycling, the how and where to do it, so that when changing a car battery yourself, you can dispose of this old car/vehicle battery in a safe and sustainable way.

Are car batteries recyclable?

The short and important answer is yes.

Car batteries are hazardous waste and should not be mixed in with general waste or hard rubbish. Car battery recycling drop-off locations and recycling facilities can be found all around Australia, and all around the world.

According to the Australian Royal Automobile Club (RAC), the recycling rate for automotive batteries in Australia is around 98 per cent. Furthermore, the RAC states that almost all components of a lead-acid battery can be recycled, compared to 63 per cent of paper products, 58 per cent of aluminium cans and only 41 per cent of glass bottles.

Here at Empower Battery Co, our mobile car battery are authorised to remove your old batteries and dispose of them safely at the nearest disposal point.

There are other recycling drop-off points around Brisbane, and across the country to help ensure we all do the right thing.

How are car batteries recycled?

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) within Australia provides a good explanation on how car batteries are recycled.

Once lead-acid batteries reach recycling centres, they are put through a hammer mill to be broken down. The components then enter a vat where the heavier and lighter parts are separated, and the floating plastic is removed and transferred to a plastics recycler where the plastic is melted to form small pellets.

To treat the lead, the grids and other components are melted inside smelters and then placed in moulds where the material’s impurities float to the top. These elements are removed before the lead cools. Once this stage is complete, they can be melted again and used to manufacture new batteries.

Finally, the sulphuric acid is neutralised and converted to sodium sulphate or simply processed into water and transferred to a waste facility. In the case of sodium powder, the properties can be used to make textiles and laundry detergent.

According to the RAC, 97 per cent of lead-acid battery materials can be recycled and used for items such as radiation shields in medical facilities and roofing products in the construction industry.

Some parts of the battery can also be used in textiles, glass and to manufacture more car batteries.

Of course, it’s a whole different journey for the Electric Vehicles of the future.

What should I do with old batteries?

Old lead-acid car or vehicle batteries should be recycled. If you have such a battery at your home or in your garage, waiting to be thrown out, please drop it off at a place that accepts and collects these batteries for recycling. There will hopefully be plenty of places in your area.

Please do NOT discard of old lead-acid batteries in general, recycling or other waste bins.

These batteries are hazardous and can become a potential threat, not just to humans, but also to the environment.

If lead-acid batteries end up in landfill, their toxic waste would be left to seep into the ground water below. The lead and acid may also contaminate other recycled materials and render them un-useable.

Where can I find car battery recycling in Brisbane?

There are many places in Brisbane that accept car batteries for recycling.

You can visit websites, such as the following, to find your local locations:


Your local automobile stores and clubs may also offer old battery drop-off services.

It’s definitely worth taking a look. Thank you for doing the right thing.

And of course, during a battery replacement service – we will remove and drop off your batteries for recycling, saving you time and money. We NEVER recondition old batteries.

Empower Battery Co recycle symbol made up of car parts - car battery recycling

Where can I dispose of car batteries near me?

Across Australia there are plenty of places that will accept car batteries for recycling. For example, a national network of over 1,150 Battery Recycling Centres has been established by Century Yuasa for environmentally responsible collection and recycling of used lead-acid batteries.

Other organisations such as The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), are also making it easier for everyone to have access to a battery recycling drop-off location.

As well as searching these website databases, and Googling locations near you, you can also check with your local automobile stores and clubs, who may also offer old battery drop-off services.

It’s definitely worth taking a look. Thank you for doing the right thing.

What does the future of car battery recycling look like?

The future of car battery recycling is changing. According to a 2021 ABC news article, electric cars and home batteries are already posing a waste problem in Australia. Indeed, the article highlights the fact that the processing of lithium-ion batteries is a new and complicated task for the Australian recycling industry.

The Australian Royal Automobile Club (RAC) say Electric Vehicles (EV) currently account for a little over one percent of all new-vehicle sales in Australia, but the imminent influx of new models, various state and territory incentives, growing international popularity, and increasing interest locally in going electric, means we’re likely to see many more on the roads over the coming decade. In fact, the same post states the Battery Stewardship Council estimates that by 2036, Australians will dispose of between 137,000 and 186,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries annually.

There are several valuable elements in an EV battery – aluminium, graphite, nickel, copper, cobalt, steel, lithium, as well as other materials such as plastics and various electrolytes. In a 2020 report, the CSIRO estimated that each tonne of lithium-ion battery waste could be worth between $4,400 and $17,200 in materials. That could amount to a few thousand dollars for each EV on the road – and up to $3.2 billion nationally by 2036.

It appears we need to lift our lithium-ion recycling game. But lithium-ion battery recycling brings new rules to that game. It is complex. For starters, there are different chemistries – up to 20 elements – used in different lithium-ion batteries, but not all lithium-ion batteries are the same.

Despite the complexities, recycling these batteries seems to be successfully taking place in other parts of the world, and with the future of cars being electric, it also seems that Australia has no choice but to move up a gear and join the other countries on that journey.

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