Sustainable

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Most of us are trying to be”green” by switching to battery powered tools and vehicles. I heard something that surprised me. I heard that over 90% of a lead/acid battery is recyclable and less than 10% of a Li-Ion is recyclable.

Lots of battery experts here - is this true?

Thanks
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Michael G

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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walt dutchak

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Am not a battery expert but article at link: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4139266-look-lithium-ion-battery-recycling-industry-companies
indicates that lead acid batteries have a recycling yield of 65% re: lead.
Lithium ion batteries on the other hand are very difficult to recycle because of the complex processes involved and the total yield is about 48% overall: 22% iron, 3% Lithium, 18% cobalt and 5% Aluminum.  Apparently it is currently much more economical to mine these metals than to recover them via recycling.  This may change as the incentive increases with mass production of electric powered vehicles in the future.

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Oregon Mike, Champion

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Li Ion batteries are recyclable. Just not in the more conventional way. They require special handling from disposal all the way through final disposition. Do not, under any circumstances throw any Lithium batteries in the trash or in your regular recycling bin. They must go to a special Lithium recycling location. Usually places that sell those kinds of batteries, or manufacturers of those batteries, will accept the used batteries. Always good to check your local Home Depot store and also check your local waste management company as they may also have a place to bring those batteries. 

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Oregon Mike, Champion

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The battery company I worked for would completely discharge Li cells and disassemble them as much as possible. Once disassembled they would go into 55 gal drums which would be sealed when full. They would then get transported to places that can work with the lithium. While the lithium that might get removed from the cells can't be used for new cells it can be used in things like lubricants, among others. Li cells can't go into landfills so there are other ways to dispose of the various components, mostly burning, but generally once the electrolyte is burned off from the cells much of the cells can be reused in other applications. Any fumes from burning are removed via scrubbers to exhaust out clean air. With the large number of automotive based cells that will be aging out soon there is a huge push to get the recycling processes more affordable across the board.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Most “green” studies I see center around how much fuel/carbon gets avoided during the battery’s lifetime, then that gets compared to the carbon footprint of the battery’s manufacturing and recycling process.

I’ve read several studies and each one seems to come to a different conclusion. Perhaps based on the interests of whoever is funding the studies?
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szwoopp, Champion

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follow the money - it always matters who is funding the study !
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SCDC, Champion

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Batteries are bad news in every aspect.  But it is a stepping stone to better technology which will hopefully prove more environmentally favorable.
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SCDC, Champion

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Yeah, well I figured I might offend some whacko, so I scaled it down. I don’t buy into this green crap. To make green, we seem to be creating bigger problems with all of the exotic elements being used.

So I don’t buy into it. I go battery for my own convenience. Quiet, easy, and no smell!
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Blue Angel, Champion

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“Yeah, well I figured I might offend some whacko, so I scaled it down.”

LMAO!
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Michael G

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I'm not a tree hugger (nor a whacko) but do think people should be more cognoscente of what they are leaving for their children, grandchildren, and future generations.
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SCDC, Champion

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Nothing wrong with wanting a better life for our children.  But if that means replacing one source with another that is no better or will cause bigger problems, is no way to accomplish this.   ANY item that runs on batteries is not green.  It's convenient  :)
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Blue Angel, Champion

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M.G., agreed. I disagree with unnecessary and/or excessive pollution. It’s unnecessary and excessive.

SCDC, agreed. I want an electric car but won’t buy one until it’s financially justified. If it’s greener so be it, but that’s not my primary motivation.