The State of Lithium Battery Recycling

January 4, 2020 12:32 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Lithium batteries (also referred to as lithium-ion batteries) are ever present in our everyday lives, from cell phone batteries and electric cars to power tools and rechargeable AAA batteries—but their volatile nature makes them more difficult to recycle. If you’ve been wondering about the logistics of lithium battery recycling in Houston, TX, here’s a quick overview about how to recycle, and where the industry is headed—and for all of your battery needs, be sure to visit Texford Battery Co.!

What’s the current state of lithium battery recycling?

Currently, lithium batteries are said to be recyclable—but not in your basic blue recycling bin. Lithium is a reactive element, which means that with the batteries’ pressurized contents and chemical makeup, they could end up bursting into flames in your recycling bin or the landfill. Still, they have valuable metals and other components that can be extracted and used, so it’s important that you take them somewhere where there’s a chance of recovering their usefulness.

In practice, this means that you need to take your old cell phones, laptops and other lithium-ion battery-powered electronics to a recycling facility, so they can safely dispose of the batteries.

What’s the future of lithium battery recycling?

Recently, Danny Rosellini from RSR Corporation gave a talk about lithium battery recycling. In his opinion, comprehensive and easy recycling for lithium batteries is still a long way off.  Currently, lithium batteries for the most part are just incinerated—not recycled—in all but a very few cases.

The issue goes back around 10 years, when lithium was introduced and many companies were using lithium and another metal to “tame” the volatility of lithium. To date, companies have used approximately thirteen different mixtures. Fast forward to today, and that number is around four.  Which brings us back to the recycling question: what would it take to be able to fully recycle lithium batteries?

To build a recycling facility, which could cost tens of millions of dollars, there must be one widely-accepted chemical makeup to work with, for one major reason: the expense to build a lithium battery recycling plant. Rosellini estimates that it will take about 15 years for this to happen (or five to come up with one specific chemical makeup) in order to design a recycling facility, and another 10 years to build it.

As an industry, we’re at a critical point. Lithium batteries are popular because they hold a charge longer and better than other battery types, but the cost to the environment is worrisome.

Whatever the future of lithium battery recycling, you can be assured that Texford Battery Co. is staying on top of ongoing developments.

Lithium recycling in Houston, TX

Texford Battery Co. has been serving the Houston area since 1931. We specialize in one thing: making sure you have the right battery for whatever you need, whether that’s everyday batteries or hard-to-find foreign components and power sources. If you have questions about lithium recycling in Houston, TX, call or stop by today.

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