Recyling Batteries

All businesses that place batteries onto the UK market by importing them are affected by the Batteries Regulations and are known as Producers and must register directly with the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS).

Batteries for use in energy storage systems are categorised as Industrial Batteries.

An industrial battery or battery pack is one which is:

  1. designed exclusively for industrial or professional uses;
  2. used as a source of power for propulsion in an electric vehicle;
  3. unsealed, but is not an automotive battery; or
  4. sealed, but is not a portable battery.

As a Producer (importer) of industrial batteries under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009, Wind & Sun Ltd produce lead acid and lithium ion batteries. We are obliged to take back free of charge, waste industrial batteries supplied to an end user for treatment and recycling. We are required to do this in any calendar year we place new industrial batteries on the market. If any of our customers or in certain cases other end users, require us to take back Industrial batteries, they should contact us and we will agree the necessary arrangements for the return, proper treatment and recycling of the waste industrial batteries.

Wind & Sun’s Battery Producer Registration Number is BPRN04942

Recycling Lead Acid Batteries

70% of all rechargeable battery energy storage capacity worldwide is provided by lead acid batteries, and 99% of the materials lead batteries are made with can be recycled or reused. In fact, lead batteries are the most recycled consumer product on earth.

Lead-acid batteries are highly recyclable, with many countries achieving recycling rates of more than 90 per cent. If this is not done, toxic substances like lead can leak into the environment when car batteries and other lead-acid batteries end up in landfill. Recycling lead-acid batteries is a rigorous process and is necessary to ensure that the different parts are safe to reuse.

The Recycling Process

  • Once the batteries are collected, they are taken to a hammer mill where they are broken apart.
  • The main parts of lead-acid batteries are lead, plastic coating known as polypropylene, and sulphuric acid.
  • The sulphuric acid is neutralised and turned into sodium sulphate, which is used to make fertiliser and detergent.
  • The lead and polypropylene parts are separated by putting the broken battery pieces into a vat, where the lead falls to the bottom and the plastic materials float.
  • The plastic pieces are then collected, and the liquid is drained off from the vat to retrieve the lead.
  • Both the lead and plastic casings are then recycled into new batteries or used in other industrial products.

Where can you recycle lead-acid batteries?

If you have a used lead-acid battery, there are a few ways to safely dispose of it.

  • Many scrap metal dealers, will accept used lead-acid batteries for recycling - because of the lead content they will usually pay you a significant amount based upon weight of the batteries.
  • We can arrange collection and return to a lead-acid battery recycling centre.

Recycling Lithium-Ion Batteries

Due to their high energy density and the potential to spontaneously combust Lithium-Ion batteries can be extremely dangerous and as such should never be placed in general waste. They are classified as dangerous goods under the ADR regulations (Accord Dangereux Routier, the European regulations concerning the international transport of dangerous goods by road) and need expert handling when being stored or transported, as well as fully compliant routes for processing and safe recycling.

Contained within Li-ion batteries are scarce and valuable recyclable materials such as cobalt, nickel, copper and manganese, which can be recycled and even reused in new Li-ion batteries.

Where can you recycle lithium-ion batteries?

At present, not many places offer lithium-ion battery recycling. However, Wind & Sun can put you in touch with specialist companies who can do this. Usually, a cost is involved depending upon volume and location.