How to Dispose of Car Battery: The Most Efficient Ways

Car batteries are a type of lead-acid battery. It’s obvious that they have ‘lead’ and ‘acid’ in them that could be dangerous if mishandled. So, you can’t just throw them into a trash bag or dispose of into a recycling trashcan. How to dispose of car battery, you must be thinking. Well, there are certain ways to do it safely. Otherwise, a battery will sit in the environment and contaminate the soil and water for many years.

The Danger of Not Recycling a Car Battery

Many of us don’t know what to do with old car batteries, so we just throw them out and contribute to environmental pollution.

You must know that lead in these batteries is highly toxic and detrimental to environmental elements. If somehow mixed with water sources, it keeps polluting them for years to come.

Drinking water that has traces of lead does irreparable damage to the human body. It attacks the developing nervous system and brain of young children, especially those who are less than 10 years old.

Each car battery contains at least 20 pounds of lead, which is a valuable chemical element. Many industries need lead for solar energy and infrared technology, turbines, X-ray radiation shields, car batteries, and more. A huge amount of lead gets wasted when you just discard the battery.

car battery disposal
Throwing the battery into the environment is highly dangerous. Cre: sassphotos / iStockphoto

Some cars use a nickel-cadmium battery, which is also harmful to both environment and human health. Cadmium affects almost all body systems and is particularly harmful to the brain, eyes, and kidneys. So, it’s clear that no rechargeable battery should not end up in a water body, soil, or landfill.

The good news is people have been becoming aware of safe car battery disposal. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), almost 98% of lead-acid batteries undergo recycling.

How to Dispose of Car Battery: The Most Effective Ways

We need to act responsibly for battery disposal. But where to dispose of car batteries? Actually, there are multiple places and some places also offer money for your old battery.

Designated Recycling Stations

The Internet could be the first place to look for a battery recycling station near your living place. Start with searching for the local department of sanitation or dump stores. They may have programs for recycling hazardous materials.

If you find one running such a program, call them to make sure that they accept car batteries. Some programs may have a pick-up service too so ask them about it.

How to dispose of car battery that is a nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) unit? In that case, check the label on its body to find the recycling instructions. You can also call the dealer from who you have bought the car or the manufacturer. They can give you proper information about safe recycling.


Local Auto Shops

The shops that sell car batteries are the best place to take your old or dead battery. Many auto parts stores purchase such batteries for cash. Most of them offer a flat-rate, but negotiating may bring some extra dollars to your pocket.

Some auto shops don’t offer cash but discounts on auto parts purchased from them. This could be a good deal too if you need to buy a new battery or replace a vehicle part.

You should be very careful when taking the old battery to the shop. Use a thick plastic wrapper to create a leak-proof seal. Leaked chemical elements can touch your bare skin, which could be dangerous, and ruin the car’s interior.

The best place to keep it is the vehicle’s trunk. Make sure it does not move around when you are driving. Keeping it in a lidded plastic can and bind the can to a fixed structure will be the safest practice. It will prevent the spill of acid or other chemical elements.

Take It to the Retailer

Some retailers have a program for taking old batteries for recycling purposes. If you have already bought a new battery, check the money receipt to see if the seller has invoiced for a core charge (also known as core return or core deposit) on the battery.

This charge applies to many devices and electronic components, including car batteries. It means that if you return that device to the retailer, they will give you back that money. So, if you have paid this charge for your old car battery, take it to the retailer from where you purchase it.

where to dispose of car batteries
Some retailers accept old batteries. Source: Shutterstock

Sell to a Scrap Metal Depot

Even if you have charged for a core deposit, losing the money receipt means you cannot claim it. What can you do then? Well, you can still take the service of a local recycling program. If that is not an option, sell it to a scrap metal depot. This is another way of how to dispose of car battery for cash.

Shopping around will help you get a better price, given there are several scrap shops nearby.

Go to an Auto Repair Shop

Some auto repair garages accept old car batteries for either rebuilding or recycling. You probably need to go to such a shop anyway for removing the dead battery and installing a new unit. Ask them if they are interested in buying the old battery. If you don’t need the money, just let them have it after becoming sure that they will recycle it. However, some shops may not accept an old unit, leaving you with the options mentioned above.

Warnings for Battery handling

So, you now know how to dispose of car battery safely. But you should not forget about the safety measures to take during handling it for transport or removing from the car.

A battery has corrosive sulphuric acid. It can burn your bare skin. So, never try to pry open the battery or use force when removing it from under the hood.

Don’t forget to use protective gloves. If acid or other chemical elements still get spilled on your skin, wash with water immediately and seek medical advice.