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How to Dispose of Car Batteries Safely

Batteries Plus Blog - Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 6/16/2022

Removing an old car battery

Today, we're going to be talking about something most of us rarely think about; how to dispose of an old car battery. Automotive batteries have an average lifespan of about three to five years, after which they're pretty much useless. So, what do you actually do with a dead car battery? Once your car battery can no longer be used, you need to have it recycled. Keep reading for valuable information on why recycling is so important and where you can go to have them recycled.

Can You Throw Away Car and Truck Batteries?

Car batteries contain heavy metals and chemicals which can be dangerous both to individuals and the environment if not disposed of properly. A single lead acid car battery can contain up to 18 pounds of lead and about one gallon of corrosive lead-contaminated sulfuric acid. If an old car battery is placed in a landfill, these harmful substances will leak out over time, contaminating the soil and groundwater. They can also run off into surrounding lakes and streams, potentially impacting the health of local residents. That's why it's illegal to throw car batteries away with the rest of your trash.

Can Car Batteries Be Recycled?

Nearly 100% of a lead battery can be recycled. That includes the lead, plastic and sulfuric acid, which can be recovered and reused for other purposes. While automotive batteries can be recycled, you can't just toss them into your municipal recycling bin. Due to the harmful materials inside, car batteries need to be taken somewhere that is equipped to dispose of them properly, such as a battery retailer or a local hazardous waste collection program.

Where to Dispose of Car Batteries

Did you know that Batteries Plus accepts old auto batteries? It's true. Every year, we recycle approximately 52 million pounds of lead acid batteries. These spent batteries are sent to EPA certified processors where all salvageable material is separated and reused.

If you have a used car battery in need of recycling, simply drop it off at one of our 700+ locations throughout the U.S. Keep in mind that there is some slight variation in the type of material each location can accept. There may also be a cost for recycling, but this too will vary by location. For the most accurate information, reach out to your nearest Batteries Plus store and ask them what type of recyclables they accept.

Does Batteries Plus Offer Car Battery Recycling for Businesses?

Batteries Plus offers battery and light bulb recycling as one of the benefits of our business account program. If your company maintains its own fleet of vehicles, consider signing up today. It's completely free to join and, once you do, you'll receive access to a number of additional benefits, including volume discount pricing, shipping options and access to your own dedicated advisor. Learn more about "Why Your Business Should Use Batteries Plus for Your Recycling Needs."

Batteries Plus Offers Additional Battery and Light Bulb Recycling

At Batteries Plus, we recycle more than just car batteries. We also accept a number of additional vehicle, device and alkaline batteries, plus a large selection of light bulbs (fees may apply). Get details on everything we accept on our Recycling Page, including answers to common recycling questions.

Need a new car battery? Shop our selection of top-quality car and truck batteries from trusted brands like Duracell, Optima and X2Power. Most of our stores even offer free installation on most vehicle makes and models.

Want to learn more about our recycling services?

View Recycling Services