Auto battery recycling is an important part of electronic waste recycling. Automobiles require an SLI (starting, lighting, ignition) battery to power the ignition system, startup motor and lights. This battery is mostly a rechargeable type battery. Auto and truck batteries contain galvanic cells that normally provide vehicles with a potential difference of 12 volts.
The most common and oldest type of rechargeable auto and truck batteries are the lead-acid batteries. These are made up of lead slates with plates of lead oxide placed separately. The plates are immersed in an acidic electrolyte solution. The chemical reaction between the lead and the acid releases electrons. These flow through the conductors and provide electricity. With constant discharge over time, the reaction covers the surface of the plate with lead sulphate. These batteries are charged by the alternator, which functions when the vehicle is running.
These auto and truck batteries pose a great risk when not disposed carefully. They are designated as hazardous wastes. Auto battery recycling is therefore highly important. The acid and the lead in these batteries when accumulated cause serious pollution problems. However, with strict regulations governing the use of these lead-acid batteries and increased public awareness, almost 97% of the used batteries are reclaimed and put through recycling.
All manufacturers of auto and truck batteries are required to take back the batteries they sell, after their specified life time. Also, the consumers are charged a deposit fee when they buy a battery. This is refunded when they return the battery after the end of its active life time. This ensures that all auto and truck batteries are recycled and they are not dumped.