Recycle lithium-ion batteries

Can you really throw off your batteries in the garbage or trash can after using them? Is it safe to dispose of batteries like that? Nope, the rule of disposing of batteries works through the process of recycling. Recycling is the lottery of environment safety that every company opts to adopt. Most companies have also heavily experimented on how to recycle lithium-ion batteries and emerge in the very profitable business form.

Most electronic devices contain lithium-ion starting cellphones, digital cameras, wheelchairs, laptops, and electric vehicles. With time you will witness that lithium-ion batteries wear out. So if you are making sure that your used lithium-ion batteries are not going to the pile of electronic waste, you are helping to prevent landfills and potential clogging. 

An iPhone built with lithium-ion battery is charging
You really don’t want to compromise a highly efficient battery for your smart phone!

However, you may wonder about the best way to recycle lithium-ion batteries and achieve optimum performance as new as it was when you brought them in the first time.

The simple ways of recycling lithium-ion batteries are:

  1. The first step is to remove the battery from the device that needs a new battery.
  2. After you’ve successfully removed the batteries, store them in a cool and dry place. Storing them in a container can help.
  3. If your batteries are physically damaged, storing them in an insulated plastic bag will help prevent short circuits.
  4. Recycling your batteries by dropping them at a recycling center will help assure the expertise it needs.

The methods of recycling lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries involve both chemical and physical processes.

The chemical processes include:

  • Hydrometallurgy
  • Pyrometallurgy 

Since the batteries are built to contain certain positive and negative electrodes, electrolytes, and other chemical properties, most lithium-ion batteries are separately treated as safety precautions. 

The hydrometallurgical process generally involves reduction and leaching. The acid and biological leaching makes up the entire division of leaching.

On the other hand, the pyrometallurgical process looks after the recovery of Co. In this very process, the lithium-ion batteries goes through dissembling and then separation of the cell takes place. The cells then get fed into the heating furnace. 

The reduction steps of the batteries include

  1. Preheating
  2. Pyrolysis
  3. Smelting

Physical process: 

The physical process of recycling lithium-ions is much less complex than the chemical ones. The cells of the battery are first disassembled. The separated cells get in touch with CO2, which is very supercritical. In a low temperature and pressure, CO2 separates from the electrolyte, and the electrolyte regenerates later in the process. The cells break and then disassembles gets through sorting. the collection of cathode and treatment progresses for re-using.

Benefits of Recycling lithium-ion batteries

Why is it so important to recycle the lithium-ion batteries of your devices? Can you not purchase a new one and actively replace the lithium-ion, which has already worn out? 

The benefits of lithium-ion batteries are not only going to save you bucks but are highly beneficial for the environment. Think about it, if you re-use the battery material and that can work perfectly fine for your device, you’re actively participating in avoiding environmental electronic waste. 

The benefits of recycling lithium-ion batteries include:

  1. Recycling your batteries leads to recovering materials that are relatively expensive. Although lithium-ion batteries are a bit more costly than the traditional ones, you’re saving the expense of buying a new one by just recovering your used battery. Cobalt and Nickel used in lithium ions are indeed two of the most expensive cathode metals. These metals are perfectly reusable.
  2. Lithium-ion batteries are produced in countries fighting against different socio-economic and human rights issues every day. Congo is one of the many countries as such where production of cobalt takes place. Recycling lithium-ions will significantly decrease the import of cobalt materials from these countries, which means that you will be able to reduce the dependency on such materials. The rapid progression of such reduction will ultimately improve the security of the supply chain and manage the environmental and human impact that these batteries cause.
  3. Minimal environmental harm is the primary goal of recycling. Electronic waste would stop from ending up in landfills. 
A smartphone with a recycling sign kept over a mesh bag
Recycle, Re-use, Recreate!

What are the risks to combat when recycling lithium-ion batteries?

The equipment of the recycling process is special. If you ever take the opportunity to recycle your lithium-ion batteries, you need a dedicated team that can handle the specialized process. The materials of the batteries are very sensitive. Hence, it is vital to take them efficiently. Failing to address the materials, equipment, and the entire process will result in damaging impacts. The thermal runaway is one of the major concerns of any mismanaging direction of the batteries. 

Some of the Dos during recycling the batteries include:

  • If the condition of the device is not safe, you can leave the battery in your device and recycle the whole unit altogether.
  • Defective batteries should always go in an anti-static bag for storage.
  • Tape the exposed connectors. You can also cap them off.


  1. Not to crush or puncture the batteries
  2. Prevent from storing the defective batteries near any flammable materials
  3. Don’t store the batteries in massive quantities, just nearby

DDR kits are very effective in storing batteries and help prevent explosions. However, the DDR kits must include DOT labeling as a sign of authenticity. 

Can lithium-ion batteries used in cars be recycled?

Yes, the happy answer is, you can absolutely recycle the batteries from your car. While a lot may think it is difficult to recycle batteries from hybrid vehicles, it is, in fact, very much possible. 

Control panels in silver and black of a hybrid car
The wonders a lithium-ion battery does for an electric vehicle is so impressive!

Since lithium-ion batteries are emerging in the vehicle market very quickly, the set up for recycling is also in its infancy. Companies launch lithium-ion recycling plants like Toxco. 

How do you recycle lithium-ion batteries from a vehicle?

The steps of recycling car batteries include:

  1. It has to be ensured that the batteries are without charge.
  2. The components of the car, such as copper and steel, are sorted after batteries are shredded.
  3. If the battery still possesses charge, they have to be kept in frozen liquid nitrogen. The frozen bits are later smashed in that exact condition. In cold conditions, the batteries cannot react, and hence the separation of the material is safe too.
  4. The metals dissemble for re-use.


Reducing carbon footprint, creating safe environmental approaches, and ensuring that chemicals do not react to cause health harm- are some of the keynotes of recycling a power-generating 21st-century battery. The recycling process will do more good than any harm. With every purchase that we make, our lives can be much more rehearsed if we make an effort through recycling the batteries we use for a long time!

September 13, 2021

How to recycle lithium-ion batteries

Can you really throw off your batteries in the garbage or trash can after using them? Is it safe to dispose of batteries like that? Nope, […]