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Batteries – the most recycled product in America. Well, lead-acid car batteries at least. That’s right, according to the U.S. EPA, we boasted a 95.7 percent lead-acid battery recycle rate in 2009. That means that almost all car batteries in the U.S. were recycled that year. Some people even decided to start refurbishing batteries so they can have a second lease of life! Pretty good, huh? We think so, and we wanna keep it that way.

Why recycle car batteries? When lead-acid batteries reach the end of their road, they are still as hazardous as the day they were made. The primary component of a lead-acid battery is lead. Lead is considered an extremely dangerous metal to us humans, and if enough is ingested, it can begin to affect many organs including the kidneys, heart, intestines, and the reproductive system. It is especially toxic to children because it interferes with the development of their nervous system. The second main component of a lead-acid battery is, well of course, acid. Sulfuric acid to be exact. Sulfuric acid, as we all know, is an extremely corrosive agent and is capable of turning any type of organic matter (including human flesh) into carbon in just a short matter of time. Please stay away from both of these items, and always remember to wear protective gear (gloves and goggles) when handling your car battery.

If you’ve had enough of using a battery booster pack every time you’ve got a flat battery, there are many options for recycling your old used-up car battery. The easiest method for most do-it-yourselfers is to drop your old battery off at the store you are buying your new one. Any store that sells new car batteries should accept used ones to be recycled – no questions asked. Also, The AAA hosts the Great Battery Roundup once a year, where they set up various locations around the country that you can unload your old batteries. (Check out AAA when the time comes to replace your battery.) If for some reason recycling is not an option, give your local landfill a call. They usually have ways of properly disposing of used batteries.

Lead-acid battery recycling, while the most practiced type of recycling in the U.S., is also one of the most important. These batteries can be extremely toxic to both us and our environment. It is up to us to make sure they are put in the right hands, and that they get recycled. And again, please use caution when handling your new or used battery.

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