What You Need to Know About Auto Battery Recycling

Did you know that the automotive battery is the most recycled product in the world? 99% of lead acid batteries are recycled. However, every year, an estimated 1.8 million used batteries are not responsibly recycled. When a lead-acid battery is not properly recycled, it can cause lead, acid and mercury to be deposited into lakes, streams and landfills.

Advance Auto Parts makes it easy to be green and recycle your old lead acid batteries through our recycling program. Simply drop off your old battery at any of our stores (most vehicles, most locations, unless prohibited by law), and we’ll take care of the rest!

graphic showing the cycle of how car batteries get recycled

Battery recycling process | Advance Auto Parts 


The first step battery recycling companies take when they recycle an auto battery is to put it through a hammermill, which effectively breaks the battery into small pieces. Those pieces flow into a container with the heavier materials, including lead, falling to the bottom and the plastic remaining on top. The plastic is removed, and the liquids are siphoned. The recycler then melts the plastic pieces and extrudes them into pellets, which are then sold to manufacturers who use them to make new battery cases.

The lead pieces are melted and poured into ingots, which are then melted down again to form the lead plates and other lead components of the battery. The old battery acid is processed and converted into sodium sulfate, which is used in detergent, glass and textile manufacturing. Battery recycling is considered a closed loop system because it can be repeated over and over again, allowing new products to be made from the old.


Auto battery recycling is a great move for the environment, but it’s also smart from a legal sense. Many states have passed legislation that makes it illegal to dispose of car batteries by just throwing them in the trash. And if you need another reason to choose the recycling route for your auto battery disposal, consider this: you'll get paid for recycling your battery!

Battery purchases include what's known as a core charge. When you purchase a new battery, a core charge deposit is charged at the time of purchase. When the old battery is returned to the store, the core charge is refunded. Even if you're not purchasing a new battery, you can still drop off your old one at most Advance Auto Parts stores where you'll receive money back in the form of store credit. Time to look in your garage and recycle those old batteries!


You can also bring your used motor oil to Advance Auto Parts for free recycling. According to the American Petroleum Institute and quoted by the Environmental Protection Agency, "recycling just 2 gallons of used oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours.” It's amazing how these small decisions can have such big impacts. 

Learn more about how to recycle motor oil and share your recycling tips in the comments.

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Last updated February 23, 2022