Battery recycling and solar power are closely connected. As solar power grows in popularity, so does the use of deep-cycle batteries in order to store the sun’s power for later.
This is especially important in areas where the amount of sunshine might vary with changes in weather. Carefully selected and maintained deep-cycle batteries can last up from five to fifteen years. But eventually, they do wear out.
Deep cycle batteries need to be recycled for a variety of reasons. First of all, they contain lead and sulfuric acid – substances that can be harmful to human beings and to animals, as well as the environment. Fortunately, in the United States, lead-acid batteries have the highest recycle rate of any recyclable items, possibly because of severe penalties in most areas for disposing of them improperly, but equally possibly because these expensive items can be turned into manufacturers in order to get a reduction on the cost of new batteries. The good news about deep cycle and other lead-acid batteries is that the lead and plastic used in them can be recycled into new batteries. About 98% of all battery lead is recycled in the U.S. – an impressive amount, considering that the United States lags behind other developed nations, recycling only about 35% of its waste. You can learn more about properly disposing of your deep cycle batteries here.
However, deep cycle batteries are not the only sort of batteries that can become an environmental hazard. From flashlights to cell phones, households have an amazing number of devices that use batteries. These batteries should also be recycled. Call2Recycle, an organization that operates in the United States and in Canada, reports that as of August 31, 2015, 2600 tons of batteries had been collected, representing a 6% increase over the previous year. The centers – which can be located by entering your zip code in their online locator – will accept nickel-cadmium, lithium, small sealed lead-acid, and nickel-zinc batteries. These batteries are often used in cell phones, watches, cameras and other small devices. They do not accept non-rechargeable batteries but do note that those should be recycled as well. Some retailers will accept used alkaline batteries, as will some recycling centers.
Renewable, rechargeable energy is a great thing at all levels. But batteries do need correct disposal. You can learn more about recycling batteries here. If mailing batteries, always package them carefully to prevent accidents.