Battery waste management
In Australia, approximately 345 million handheld batteries (household batteries, laptops, mobile phones, power tools etc) are consumed each year. Only 4% of these are recycled.
Old battery acid can be handled in two ways: The acid is neutralised with an industrial compound which turns the acid into water. The water is then treated, cleaned, tested in a waste water treatment plant to ensure it meets clean water standards. Or the acid is processed and converted to sodium sulphate, an odourless white powder that is used in laundry detergent, glass and textile manufacturing.
Lead grids, lead oxide and other lead parts are cleaned and heated within smelting furnaces. The molten melted lead is then poured into ingot moulds. When the ingots are cool, they’re removed from the moulds and sent to battery manufacturers, where they’re re-melted and used in the production of new batteries.