Recycling Lead

Recycling Lead / The Stats

Lead is a mineral that has been in use for at least 5,000 years.

Current statistics reveal approximately 88 % of the batteries were Starting, Lighting & Ignition
( SLI) automotive batteries with a lifespan of about 4 years accompanied by 8% of motive power type with a lifespan of 6 years. Further, 4 percent were a stationary type with a lifespan of 10 years. Widely researched facts conclude that 97 percent of the lead recycled was from lead-acid batteries.

Up until couple of years ago, the lead recycled as a percentage of apparent lead supply, was estimated at 63% with a recycling efficiency of 95%. The rest was from other metal sources including castings, sheet, solders and miscellaneous fabrications.

Recycling Lead / The Process

In the first phase of the recycling process batteries are broken apart in a hammer mill that hammers the battery into tiny pieces. After neutralization, the acid turns into water thereby getting treated before getting cleaned to meet clean water standards. Afterwards it is released into the public sewer system.

A typical battery recycling plant recovers 10,000 tons of lead, about 4000 tons of sulphuric acid and remains in a position of producing about 6000 tons of sodium sulphate. These huge numbers indicate how recycling all this lead can be helpful to the environment.

In fact lead-acid batteries are known to be the most recycled consumer product of recent time. After the lead reaches its melting point, the molten lead is poured into ingot molds. Subsequently various parts such as lead grids, lead oxide and other lead parts get cleaned and then heated to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recycling Lead / The Three Components of Batteries

Once broken, the lead battery components are separated into 3 distinct categories.

* The polypropylene plastic is reprocessed into new battery cases
* Lead pieces are cleaned and also reprocessed for use in new batteries
* The battery acid is either neutralized and then sent through a waste water treatment plant to be cleaned for human consumption, or it’s converted into sodium sulfate that’s used in laundry detergent.

When shopping for a new battery for your car, ask for the service station attendant for information on how to recycle your old one. Also check out the AAA Battery Roundup Program which takes place once a year in April.

Recycling Lead / Sources

Find a place to recycle lead near you…


For more information on lead recycling near you just input the phrase, lead recycling ‘your area’ in your search engine search bar. Or go to

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