Battery disposal

Different Battery Disposal Methods for Different Types of Batteries

Battery disposal is a crucial aspect of scrap yard operations with their potential environmental impact and value recovery opportunities. Franklin Metals, along with other industry players, adheres to stringent processes for the safe and efficient disposal of various types of batteries. These batteries, ranging from lead-acid to lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride, require distinct handling techniques to mitigate environmental risks and reclaim valuable materials.

Lead-Acid Battery Disposal

Lead-acid batteries, commonly used in vehicles, are among the most recycled products worldwide. The disposal process for these batteries involves a series of steps aimed at recovering lead and plastic. Initially, the batteries are broken apart in a hammer mill, which separates their components. The lead components are then smelted and refined to produce new lead, which can be used in the manufacturing of new batteries. The sulfuric acid is either neutralized to produce water, which is treated and released into the public sewer system, or it is processed and transformed into sodium sulfate, a substance used in laundry detergent, glass, and textile manufacturing.

Lithium-Ion Battery Disposal

The disposal of lithium-ion batteries, widely used in portable electronics and electric vehicles, requires careful handling due to their potential for thermal runaway and subsequent fire risk. These batteries are first discharged to eliminate any remaining charge. Subsequently, they undergo a mechanical process to separate the valuable components, such as cobalt, lithium, and nickel. The separation process often involves shredding and sieving to sort materials, followed by hydrometallurgical or pyrometallurgical processes to recover metals. Advanced methods also aim to reclaim lithium in the form of lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide, which can be reused in new battery production.

Nickel-Cadmium and Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery Disposal

Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries, found in various portable and backup power applications, are disposed of through processes that prioritize the recovery of nickel and other metals. The batteries are initially sorted based on their chemistry. Ni-Cd batteries undergo a specific treatment due to the toxicity of cadmium, involving a high-temperature metal recovery process that safely extracts the cadmium for recycling. Ni-MH batteries, on the other hand, are processed through similar mechanical separation techniques as lithium-ion batteries, focusing on the recovery of nickel and other reusable metals. Both processes ensure the containment and recycling of hazardous materials, preventing them from entering the environment.

Environmental Considerations and Future Directions

Scrap yards, including Franklin Metals, are increasingly adopting environmentally responsible disposal practices to minimize the impact of battery waste. This involves not only adhering to existing regulations but also investing in technologies that improve recovery rates and reduce environmental harm. The future of battery disposal lies in the development of more efficient recycling technologies that can accommodate the growing diversity of battery chemistries in the market. Additionally, there is a push towards designing batteries that are easier to recycle, which could significantly reduce the environmental footprint of battery disposal.


The disposal of batteries at scrap yards involves a complex set of processes tailored to the specific chemistry of each battery type. Franklin Metals and similar entities employ a variety of methods to ensure the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible recycling of lead-acid, lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and nickel-metal hydride batteries. As technology evolves, so too will the methods for battery disposal, promising a future where battery recycling is even more efficient and less impactful on the environment.