How to properly dispose of lithium batteries

Lithium batteries power our smartphones, laptops and many other devices every day, so it’s important that we recycle the finite resources within them.

Despite their name, lithium only accounts for about 2-3% of the total weight of a battery.

As lithium is such a light material, it can provide higher power capacity through smaller and lighter packs.

Instead, these batteries are made up mostly of other metals, including iron, cobalt, nickel, copper and aluminium.

So, why do we need to recycle them? Well, extracting the metals from these batteries has only 10% of the ecological impact that primary mining has.

There is also increasing demand for these non-renewable resources to feed our ever-growing love of  electronic devices, so it makes sense that we recycle the materials that we can before we mine the last of them.

Here are some tips on how to recycle lithium batteries:

Organise collection

Firstly, do not throw your old phone battery or other lithium battery packs in your home recycling bin, as these can be dangerous and need to be handled with care.

If you are looking to dispose of your personal phone battery or another lithium battery from around the home, then you can search and find your local battery collection point on the RecyclingNearYou website.

Also keep in mind that some electronic goods retailers may buy back an old phone and the battery to refurbish or recycle themselves, along with some other devices.

Otherwise, businesses looking to recycle used lithium batteries should contact a recycling company like Ecocycle to deal with commercial-scale waste.

Start the recycling process

Once the batteries are collected and sorted, the lithium batteries are fed into an automated crusher that breaks them down into pieces of metal, plastic and a lithium by-product.

The metal can be recovered in new products, while the lithium by-product is further purified for reuse.

While most of this recycling process focuses on recovering materials like aluminium, copper and cobalt, there are efforts being made to recover more of the lithium.

The next step

While many lithium batteries end up in landfill every year, many more are gathering dust at the bottom of drawers in homes around the country.

Not only does recycling protect the environment, it also helps keep down the cost of producing future goods.

Together, we can reduce the demand to mine ever-more resources just by dropping these batteries at a nearby collection point.

Additionally, if you are a business looking to recycle lithium batteries and other batteries too, give us a call on 1300 32 62 92 or fill out the form below and we will help find a solution for you.