How To Recycle Lead Acid Batteries At Home?

With a push for more sustainable methods for energy generation, the materials related to it must follow suit. There is no use in saving emissions from fossil fuels when disposing of batteries can yield equally dangerous results. According to recent reports, the use of batteries is only set to increase, with the global sales of lead-acid batteries surpassing USD 63 billion by 2028.

That goes with several countries committing to renewable energy sources—storing the relevant energy and transforming the automobile sector for more EVs. Recycling old batteries is an essential part of it. And since lead acid batteries are what make up most of the market, this piece might prove valuable. Here’s your guide on how to recycle lead-acid batteries at home.

How Do You Prepare Batteries for Recycling?

You can’t just disconnect your domestic lead acid batteries and send them to be recycled. You need to ensure a few conditions before they go through the process safely. Those are described in detail below.

  • Discharge them completely: First, you need to extract all the charge from the lead acid battery. The recycling process involves grinding the battery into tiny bits. So, even if a slight potential difference remains, it can cause a massive electrical fire when subjected to physical stresses. You can discharge the battery using a battery maintainer or a 20-ohm, 10W resistor. Check the battery terminals with a multimeter to determine that it’s truly dead. Only then can you proceed with its recycling.
  • Remove all possible contaminants: Before you recycle an old lead acid battery, you need to eliminate all contaminants generated during use. That includes the dirt on the casing, corrosion on the terminals, and sulfation on the electrodes. Much of that can be hidden out of sight, so you may require a thorough disassembly before thorough cleaning.
  • Ensure adequate seals: You don’t want the corrosive electrolyte leaking from the battery as you try to recycle it. Thus, closing all the seals at the battery casing and terminals is a good idea. That may require additional insulation and tighter fixtures, especially on damaged specimens.
  • Connect with a reliable service: Prior to sending your old lead acid batteries, it helps to ensure that the service is reliable. Several imposters can feign about recycling batteries but would instead just throw them off at the nearest landfill. Authorized battery recycling plants need an adequate license from the relevant environmental agency. While it’s the EPA in the US, you may need to research the authorizing body in your own country.

How To Recycle Lead Acid Batteries at Home?

How To Recycle Lead Acid Batteries At Home?

Lead acid batteries at home see more use than other applications, more so if used for solar power. The process involves several complicated steps and multiple pieces of specialized equipment. While it’s best to trust a commercial service, you can invest a few resources to do it by yourself.

The equipment mentioned below can help you recycle lead-acid batteries. Although, you must remember that it’s a hazardous procedure, and you can’t recycle batteries that have been too severely degraded.

  • A pair of insulated gloves and safety goggles
  • Solution of sulfuric acid and water in a 35:65 ratio
  • Spare electrodes compatible with your battery
  • A large pouring vessel
  • A set of wire extensions
  • A battery charger/maintainer
  • A multimeter
  • A couple of alligator clips
  • Screwdrivers and other essential tools

Initially, you need to ensure that the battery is fully discharged. Use the multimeter to obtain a reading from both terminals. A battery doesn’t have much life if it’s less than 30% of its rated voltage. Next, you may disassemble the battery by carefully removing the top cover and draining the electrolyte. It may still be helpful to produce basic compounds.

The next stage is checking the electrodes for any sulfation damage. You can clean it with baking soda if there are only a few spots. In the case of more extensive damage, they may require entire replacements. Once you’ve determined that all the parts are in order, you can pour the acidic solution and seal the battery up. Try to do it slowly, as any spillage may harm the surroundings.

When you’ve effectively sealed the battery, you can now use a charger or battery maintainer to charge it and put it to good use. It may take a few hours to charge fully. You can check the progress by connecting the multimeter to the terminals regularly.

You can watch the full video of the battery recycling process: Lead Battery Recycling Process

Four Easy Ways to Recycle Acid-Based Batteries

As the process is far too complicated for amateurs, it is best to subscribe to a professional service. It’s more straightforward and allows you a hefty discount on your next purchase. You also do away with purchasing expensive equipment to repair the battery from scratch.

You can choose any of the following ways to ensure that your battery gets recycled appropriately.

Give It at a Local Auto Parts Store

Most local auto parts chains have battery recycle centers to account for any customers trying to exchange their old variants. Walmart Auto Center and Interstate Autozone are a couple of notable examples. They have the necessary equipment and personnel to recycle old batteries. You can bring a dead battery and buy a new version for rather attractive prices.

Recycle Small Sealed Batteries at Lowes and Home Depot

Lowes and Home Depot are a couple of well-known enterprises that have battery repair equipment on-site. Although you may not receive the best of services, you can leave your batteries for quite a discount on other items within the store. Both of these stores remain in touch with authorized battery recycling centers, so you know that your old battery may find the correct place for processing.

Recycle Lead Acid Batteries at a Recycling Center Near You

The best way to ensure a new life for your old lead acid battery is to give it away at a dedicated battery recycling center. Chains like the Interstate All Battery Center and Amaron Pitstop have all the necessary facilities for recycling lead-acid batteries. You can even repair your current battery, regardless of the damage it has sustained. Several customers just repair their old batteries instead of buying new ones. The only downside is that such service centers are rare compared to other outlets detailed in this list.

Use a Paid Battery Recycling Service

A paid battery recycling service is the most accessible way to reuse old batteries. When you schedule an appointment, one of the professionals can visit you at your location of choice and pick up the battery for inspection. You don’t need to take the time off your schedule and get a decent price for exchanging your old battery. They can even deliver a fully charged variant to your doorstep for your convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Materials Can Be Recycled From a Lead-Acid Battery?

A lead acid battery has several components that you can recycle. A few notable ones include:

  • Protective Case: The outermost covering of the battery has several practical uses, even if the rest of the components have degraded. You can make a firm storage box out of it, as the seals have decent insulation and can withstand chemically reactive substances. If it’s too damaged, recycling centers chip it down into tiny plastic pellets that can be formed into other products.
  • Electrodes: The electrodes of a lead acid battery contain highly reactive alloys that act upon the electrical supply. They can be used for complicated circuits or melted down to form new alloy ingots.
  • Electrolyte: Lead acid batteries contain a solution of concentrated sulfuric acid. Once it loses enough ions, it can be mixed with sodium sulfate to form a cleansing compound. You can use that as a detergent or glass cleaner, depending on the strength of the solution.

Why Are Batteries So Hard To Recycle?

Lead acid batteries have resilient components that are often too inert or too corrosive for most practical applications. In most cases, you must convert them to safer forms for recycling.

Is Lead Battery Recycling Profitable?

Yes. As it’s the most popular form of battery today, you can easily find older variants and always have new customers ready to clear the stock.

What Type of Batteries Cannot Be Recycled?

Only dry cell and Nickel-Cadmium batteries are designed for single usage. That’s why you’ll observe more electronics adapting lithium-ion versions that are both recyclable and long-lasting.

Are Lead Acid Batteries Easy To Recycle?

No. Lead acid batteries involve several components that need separation before they can be recycled. That’s why you should entrust the job to experienced professionals instead of performing it yourself.


While battery technology is progressing by leaps and bounds, there are still several years before we can observe the widespread use of solid-state batteries. Until then, it’s best to know how to recycle lead-acid batteries at home. We hope this guide granted you new insights and helped you make informed decisions in the future.


  1. Lead Acid Battery Market Size to Hit $63.44 Bn by 2028 | Manufactures, CAGR, Opportunities, Obstacles
  2. Lead Battery Recycling Process



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