What Are the Most Profitable Batteries to Recycle?

BMW, General Motors, and all major car makers are marketing electric and hybrid cars that use batteries. Tesla and Panasonic are selling back-up batteries for use in homes and commercial buildings. We are entering the age of the battery.

Does that increasing battery production mean that this is a great time to start buying up scrapped batteries and recycling them? The answers to that question are surprising. Here are some things you need to know.

Photo of used car batteries you can recycle profitably. Credit: Jupiterimages/PHOTOS(dot)com

A Good Source of $$$: Old Car Batteries Offer the Best Payback

They’ve been around for more than a century. They contain lead, not sexy precious metals. Yet they still offer you the best payback for every dollar you invest collecting and recycling them, for some very simple reasons. The first is that they are plentiful, to say the least. People have them sitting in garages, in old cars, in car repair shops, and in plenty of other places. The second is that they are relatively easy to recycle. In the past, Walmart used to pay money for old car batteries; today, that retailer only recycles them for you, without paying you a penny for the old batteries you bring in. But some other retailers still pay $7.00 - $10.00 for every battery you scrap. Check out Interstate Battery, NAPA Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts and other stores that sell batteries. Some stores might or might not pay for batteries – it seems to depend on the policies of the individual store – so be sure to check out your options before you start collecting old batteries. But even if you can’t find a retailer who will pay you for them, you can probably still get $4.00 - $5.00 per battery from a local junkyard.

Bear in mind that there are plenty of other lead-based batteries you can recycle too, including batteries used in rechargeable lawnmowers and other garden devices, in trucks, in generators, in outboard motors, and in motorcycles.

Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners does not recycle lead-based batteries.

Not a Good Source of $$$: Alkaline and Other Batteries Used around the Home

Sure, you’re tossing all those old batteries from remotes, flashlights and kids’ toys. But the metals they contain are not worth recycling – the cost of extracting them is greater than the value of the metals obtained. There is no money to be made collecting them. Your best option? Take them to your town dump and recycle them responsibly.

Not a Good Source of $$$: Lithium Batteries

This probably comes as a surprise, but there is not much money to be made recycling all those little batteries that are used to power devices like your car fob and your cellphone. Even though those batteries contain lithium, silver and other valuable metals, they don’t have enough to make recycling worthwhile. They are not all that easy to collect, despite how common they are. Plus, they are difficult and even dangerous to recycle.

Another factor? Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, your premier recycling resource, can’t help you get money for them.

Have More Questions about Setting Up Your Own Metal Recycling Business?

There is not very much money to be made recycling batteries. But there are other opportunities in precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. If you call Specialty Metals today at 800-426-2344, we will be happy to tell you about the precious metals that we can profitably refine for you.

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