How To Handle Lead-Acid Battery Recycling

lead batteries

Are Lead-Acid Batteries Recyclable?

Yes! Not only are they recyclable, but they also have value! Car batteries range from about 30-50 pounds in weight, with many coming in at around 41 pounds. Do some quick math, and you’ll find that the scrap value of lead-acid batteries is around $10. It’s not a ton of money, but who’s complaining about free cash?

Where To Find Lead-Acid Batteries for Scrap

There are several lead-based batteries out there that you should be aware of. Here are some different places (other than in cars and trucks) that generate batteries:

  • Ride-on tractors – they have a small battery in them
  • Dirt bikes or other off-road vehicles
  • UPS Backups (the big clunky black box on the floor by your feet that powers your computer).
  • Children’s electric vehicles
  • Off-road construction vehicles

Safely Handling Lead-Acid Batteries

Now, to the important part. Gloves. Gloves. Gloves. Whether you are handling scrap or batteries, you always want to ensure that you wear gloves, but gloves with a rubber coating will be the best. This will help protect your skin from any acid that could potentially leak out.

If you have ever encountered an open battery with acid leaking out, you should know what it does to your clothes. The acid may look like water, but it will eat away at the fabric on your clothes, and if you wash them with other garments, the acid could spread (and you may find all your clothes have holes now). So, we also suggest wearing an apron when dealing with these types of batteries.

Dealing With Spills

Ensure that you have spill clothes handy or even a tarp. There are battery-absorbent pads that you can buy, which are easy to throw on the ground to absorb the battery acid that could fall out. If that is not as convenient, you could buy a speedy-dry product that you can throw on the ground to absorb the acid (you can use speedy-dry for other things, too, like oil or even gas). 

We’ve encountered many other scrappers that have closed 5-gallon buckets of speedy dry they carry around wherever they go. Have a scoop handy as well to scoop the speedy dry and then clean up the mess afterward. Another thing that you may want is to have a set of commercial garbage bags in your truck, so you have somewhere to put the used speedy dry.

Batteries are a great way to cash in, but they are one of the more dangerous items to deal with because of the acid factor. Handling these kinds of batteries properly is always important, not only because of safety but also because of the environmental impact.