Lithium Battery Recycling (Where To Take a Dead Battery)

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Lithium battery recycling is a major issue.

In a recent article, we showed that 11 million tons of used lithium batteries will likely accumulate before the year 2030.

Contrary to popular belief, lithium batteries are up to 97% recyclable.

Lithium battery recycling has many advantages:

  • Protect the environment
  • Recover critical materials
  • Generate incomes
  • Reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions
  • Contribute to the circular economy

If your lithium solar battery is dead or damaged you must dispose of it properly by recycling.

Nowadays, you can find convenient collection points for small lithium batteries (found in electronic gadgets, phones, laptops, power tools, etc) almost everywhere.

However, most of them won’t accept solar batteries. This is mainly due to their high capacity (above 300Wh).

Therefore, you might wonder where can I take my dead lithium solar battery?

To write this article, we have done some thorough research in order to find out how and where you can recycle your old solar batteries.

We will focus on recycling in 4 countries:

  • US
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • UK.

Let’s start with some general recommendations before taking your lithium battery for recycling.

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5 Preparation Steps Before Recycling Your Lithium Battery

First of all, lithium batteries are high energy density batteries (lots of energy stored in a small space). They store electricity in the form of chemicals (electrochemistry) and contain hazardous materials.

This is why they should never be mixed with household garbage or put in municipal recycling bins.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, you should contact your battery dealer/manufacturer or one of the companies specialized in recycling high-energy lithium batteries. You will find these companies in our article.

Lithium battery recycling companies will ask you to follow 5 steps before collecting or shipping your battery.

1. Assess The General Condition Of Your Battery

lithium battery recycling

This first step is needed to check if your battery can be safely transported to the recycling plant.

Perform a visual inspection of your lithium battery. See if the battery is blotted, discolored, or leaking. Mention any shock the battery could have received or if the battery was exposed to external heat.

Finally, let the recycling company knows how your lithium battery died (end-of-life, fault…).


2. Check Your Battery Voltage

Measuring your battery voltage is important.

Even if the performance of your lithium battery is too low for your solar system, it might still be OK for other applications.

Therefore, if your lithium battery still has sufficient voltage it won’t be recycled right away, but up-cycled to extend its service life.


3. Check Your Battery Capacity

lithium battery recycling

This information is important as the transportation of high-capacity batteries is regulated, like in the US.

For example, Call2Recycle, the largest consumer battery recycling program in the US, will accept your solar lithium battery only if its capacity is below 800-Wh.


4. Weigh Your Battery

The weight of your battery is an important factor for transportation.

A 1 kWh lithium battery often weighs more than 26lbs, therefore transportation should be adapted to your battery’s weight.


5. Prepare Your Battery For Collection Or Shipment

Package your lithium battery

Start by isolating the two battery electrodes by wrapping the tips with electrical tape.

Follow the recommendations laid out by the recycling company to prepare the packaging.

Some companies will directly collect your old lithium battery, others will send special packaging and you will handle the shipment.

Now that you are ready to take your solar lithium battery for recycling, check our list of lithium battery recycling companies.


Lithium Battery Recycling In The United States

First of all, it is worth noting that lead-acid solar battery recycling is a well-established industry, whereas lithium solar battery recycling is still under development.

Consequently, the options for recycling your lithium battery are limited.

In our article, you will find a list of companies that recycle lithium batteries for solar energy storage (LiFePO4, LTO..) in the US.

Redwood Materials 


Redwood Materials works with Tesla to recycle their electric vehicle batteries and recover strategic materials (lithium, nickel, copper, gold…). The company is located in Nevada.

You can send or drop off your dead lithium batteries directly at their factory.


Retrievetech 

Retrievetech is a global leader in battery recycling and management with 20 years of experience in lithium battery recycling and materials recovery. They have dedicated customer service that will assist you to prepare your battery for recycling.


KBI

KBI is a major player in lithium battery recycling. They have more than 40 years of experience in recycling batteries and catalytic converters. They recycle all types of lithium batteries including solar batteries. Their proprietary recycling technologies ensure a high level of material recovery and compliance with environmental and safety procedures.


OnTo Technology 

OnTo Technology is an expert in the whole lithium battery recycling process: from battery deactivation to material recovery to producing new cathode material. They use a patented technology developed by their team of scientists.  


American Battery Technology Company (ABTC)

American Battery Technology Company has developed a closed-loop recycling process to separate and recover all critical metals from used lithium batteries.  They also refine the recovered metals to battery-grade standards which are then put back into the battery manufacturing industry.


Battery Resourcers

Battery Resourcers is producing cathode material for lithium batteries, with all material sourced from recycling. They offer recycling services, with a closed-loop process, that can recover 97% of the lithium battery metals. Their team of professionals will guide you to prepare your shipment (packaging and documentation).

  • Contact: info@batteryresourcers.com
  • Location: 54 Rockdale St, Worcester, MA, 01606

TechDump

TechDump recycles all types of electronics including solar batteries. You could either bring your old lithium battery to one of their drop-off points (3$/lbs) or schedule a pick-up.


Call2Recycle

Call2Recycle is the leading consumer battery recycling program in the US. They benefit from a vast network of thousands of collection points, scattered all over the country. You could either drop off your battery for free at one of the many convenient locations across the US or ship your lithium battery to them.

(Note that they only accept batteries below 800Wh.)

  • Contact: customerservice@call2recycle.org
  • Location: Check their website for the nearest collect point to your house

Lithium Battery Recycling In Australia


Australia is by far the world’s largest producer of lithium and they have one of the most advanced lithium battery recycling industries.

Let’s find out where you can take your dead lithium battery for recycling in Australia:

Enirgi

Enirgi offers a single-point contact for all recyclable battery types including used lithium batteries for energy storage. You could either drop off your used solar battery at one of their collection points scattered all over the country or schedule a pick-up.


TES

TES is a global leader in electronic waste recycling. They operate in more than 30 countries – they repurpose and recycle lithium batteries for energy storage. Their main factory in Singapore uses their proprietary process, recognized for its high recovery rate (90%) and purity (>99%) of the recycled materials.

  • Contact : Info.au@tes-amm.com
  • Location: 1 Marple Avenue, Villawood NSW 2163
    PO Box 448
    Chester Hill NSW 2162, Australia

ECOBATT

ECOBATT is Australia’s leader in battery recycling. They are specialized in the safe collection, processing, and recycling of battery products. You can either drop off your lithium battery at one of their collection points scattered all over the country or contact them for a pick-up.

  • Contact: daryl.moyle@ecocycle.com.au
  • Location: 5-11 Reo Crescent Camp bellfield VIC 3061

ENVIROSTREAM

Envirostream was created in 2017 with the ambition of becoming a leader in lithium battery recycling. Their proprietary recycling process, allows them to recover up to 95% of all metals used in a lithium battery. They have designed a range of battery collection units to ensure a high level of safety during transportation.

To recycle your lithium battery with Envirostream you could either: find a drop-off point or send them your battery in a specially designed collection box.


ECOACTIV

You can recycle your lithium batteries through ECOACTIV online platform. ECOACTIV does not operate a recycling facility, but they will safely transfer your battery to an adequate recycling plant either in Australia or abroad. In addition, they can also recycle electronic waste and solar panels.

  • Contact: enquiries@ecoactiv.com.au
  • Location: Their service is available everywhere in Australia

Lithium Battery Recycling In Canada

In Canada, there are only 2 companies that recycle lithium solar batteries. However, in the near future, more companies are planning to start their operation.

Li-cycle

Li-cycle recently hits the headlines for its efficient recycling process; They claim to recover more than 95% of all materials of a lithium battery. Li-Cycle offers a full-service solution for recycling lithium batteries, including logistics management to safely collect and transfer the dead lithium batteries.

  • Contact: info@li-cycle.com
  • Location:  2351 Royal Windsor Drive, Unit 10, Mississauga, Ontario L5J 4S7, Canada.

VEOLIA

VEOLIA is a global player in waste collection and recycling. They offer safe battery packaging and collection. After recycling your battery, Veolia will issue a certificate documenting your batteries were received and managed in accordance with all regulations.


Lithium Battery Recycling In The UK

There are only 3 companies to recycle your lithium batteries in the UK:

WasteCare

WasterCare is a national recycling management company that can recycle all types of waste, including lithium batteries. They are able to collect your dead lithium battery at your home thanks to their fleet of more than 100 vehicles.


Cawleys

Cawleys offers a full service of waste management (from collection to recycling). Their engineers are trained to deal with high-energy storage systems like lithium batteries. The company works closely with selected partners to recover all materials possible from your solar batteries.

Contact them for the collection of your old lithium batteries


Fenix Battery Recycling

Fenix is specialized in battery collection and recycling. They are a leader in recycling innovation thanks to their own R&D team. They recycle all types of batteries and offer an innovative digital collection system to book a pick-up.


Final Thoughts

Lithium is called the metal of the century or the oil of the 21st century.

Together with silicon, it plays a key role in our ongoing energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable and smart energies.

Consequently, one can understand that it is of utmost importance that lithium batteries have a smart recycling process. We should learn from past errors that are now causing environmental disasters and threatening life on earth.

Presently, lithium battery recycling is still a growing industry.

However, the industry is on the verge of major recycling developments mainly influenced by the electric vehicle market.

It is because of this that in the near future, there will be even more options to recycle or upcycle your old lithium batteries.

Romain Metaye, PhD

Dr Metaye has a PhD in chemistry from Ecole Polytechnique, France. He is a renewable energy expert with more than 10 years of experience within the research world. During his career, he supervised more than 150 projects on clean energy. Off-grid smart systems, solar energy, battery and the hydrogen economy are among his specialties.

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