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Automotive Battery Recycling

Though most people don’t think of it as such, the oldest and most often used type of rechargeable battery is found in automobiles. The lead-acid batteries that most cars and trucks employ is recharged by the alternator when the vehicle is running. These batteries were once very often sent to landfills when they were no longer able to take a charge.

However, in recent years, regulations regarding the recycling of automotive batteries require nearly all sellers of such batteries to take the old ones back for rework when a new one is sold. This scheme has resulted is a tremendously high rate of recycling – well over 95% in most areas – and is currently being held up as an example of the sort of job people can do when regulations, markets and consumer desire to do the right thing come into play. As a side benefit, the amount of lead that is distributed into the local soil and watersheds is significantly reduced.

In addition to the lead-acid batteries that are found in automobiles, there is a dizzying array of rechargeable battery types to choose from, even within the same battery configuration and size.


By the late ‘aughts, the Li-ion battery is perhaps the most popular type of non-automotive used in consumer electronics in North America. This is primarily due to its user friendly nature, as it has a high weight to charge ratio, little discharge loss and no pesky memory of past charge levels.

Nickel-metal hydride

Invented in the 1980s, these batteries are able to deliver considerably more power than their Nickel-cadmium counterparts that have been around for over a century. However, they do discharge much faster and have a much shorter life-span.


These are the oldest type of commonly used small batteries and are very sturdy, taking up to several thousand charges. They do, however, deliver a less stable voltage than their more modern counterparts. Also, cadmium is a highly toxic metal.

Recycling Automotive Fluid

Automotive fluid can be very poisonous once it makes contact with organic substances or released to the environment. This fluid dissolves easily in water, and just a small amount of this fluid can contaminate a large volume of water. A small drop of automotive fluid is capable of surviving for years as they are gradually entering the water table.

Automotive fluid is to be treated as a hazardous waste, by not disposing it on the ground, in the garbage can, septic tanks, and any other places. This fluid gives off ethylene and propylene glycol, which is used as antifreeze, and if combined with water, it will spread further to the environment due to an increased mobility. This ethylene has a sweet taste that may attract household pets, and when they consume it, they can die in just a short period of time. And the level of hazard will once used in a vehicle.

Thankfully, a recycling automotive system has been developed to reprocess these hazardous fluids into its original form to be used again by vehicles. Nowadays, this recycling system can be found in local garages or other service centers. But with motor oil, it experiences multiple chemical transformation due to the violent conditions to which it is exposed. And when it is recycled, its lubricating properties lower down, rendering it rather ineffective for reuse.

It is crucial to keep automotive fluid from roaming free to the environment. It gets even more deadly when it solutes with water, because normal human eyes could not detect it. So the most sensible solution for this environmental issue would be to recycle this poisonous fluid to its original form for reuse purposes.

Need to Recycle Automotive Fluids

Over the years automotive recycling has developed into a big industry. This is because technological developments have given rise to processes which have made it possible to recycle most parts of a car. These days every part such as plastics, glass, different parts, fluids used in a car is recycled.

Most of the fluids used in cars need proper disposal. This is because if they leak into the environment, they can cause serious damage. The reason is that they contain toxic chemicals.

Let us see various fluids that are used in a car and their impact on the environment:

Engine Oil:

Internal combustion engines of automobiles need frequent changes of oil and oil filter. If we consider the number of cars on road, you can imagine the quantity of waste engine oil that is generated. But fortunately, engine oil can be recycled. You can remove used oil from your car and give it away to a recycling center. You can replace used oil with fresh oil.


Antifreeze should not be allowed to escape into the environment. This is because it is toxic and it could mix with underground water. The antifreeze water is sweet to taste and can be consumed by children and animals. This is hazardous for health. The good news is that there are processes to recycle antifreeze.

Anti-transmission fluid (ATF):

If this fluid is released into the environment, it causes severe damage. It seeps into the soil contaminating it. Animals and insects consume it and die. This affects the food cycle and negatively impacts the ecosystem. These pollutants make their way into the water supply also. This adversely affects the life of aquatic creatures. Recyclers collect used ATF so that it does not get leaked into the environment.

Brake Fluid:

Brake fluid contains glycols, solvents, and heavy metals. It is also flammable. Hence, it should be carefully disposed of.

Windshield washer fluid:

This fluid is toxic in nature since it contains methanol, detergent, and water. It should not be mixed with other automotive fluids.

Fluids can easily leak into the environment causing irreparable damage. Hence, we should all make a conscious effort to ensure that this leakage is avoided. Since there are recycling centers to recycle most of these toxic fluids, we should do our bit for disposing of them.