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Recycling Tips for Auto Shops

Recycling and Disposal of Lead Acid Batteries

1) Each motor vehicle seen on the road is equipped with some type of battery. The type of battery most common to vehicles is known as a lead acid battery. While effective, these types of batteries are known to create disposal problems.

2) While sending these used batteries to a landfill may seem to be the best option, those disposing must consider the consequences. Landfilling can present a variety of environmental dangers, one example of this being water contamination.

3) Considering all options, recycling should be considered the best choice. Recycling old batteries not only reduces risks for humans and the earth, it also conserves resources that may not always be available.

4) Thankfully, studies have shown that batteries make up only a small portion of the country’s waste stream. This is very positive find considering that batteries are extremely toxic and one of the most hazardous materials found in solid waste.

5) Batteries should never be allowed into  a solid waste land fill due to the risk of a damaged or cracked battery casing. Acid that is released from a damaged battery can react with other items in the fill, creating multiple types of hazards.

6) Auto mechanics in particular have a responsibility to recycle these batteries. Lead acid batteries are most often collected at automotive shops and repair stations. This is successful in most communities because these shops and garages serve as convenient and centralized locations for donation or drop off by consumers.

Battery-Specific Information

1) As the title suggests, these batteries utilize both lead and sulfuric acid. Lead is used in electrodes while sulfuric acid is the electrolyte.

2) A lead acid battery tends to weigh just over thirty pounds. Half of this weight is the lead and the other half is comprised of the sulfuric acid.

3) Batteries are completely, 100% recyclable. In fact, the lead recovered from recycled batteries comprises over half of the U.S. market demand.

4) For those who are strictly profit-motivated, the sale of lead alone should be enough cause to recycle these goods.

5) Always remember to store batteries in the correct manner to avoid injury and contamination.

Information Regarding Used Motor Oil

1) Used oil certainly has characteristics of hazardous waste, however oil that is recycled is not considered hazardous material by the EPA.

2) In the U.S., hundreds of millions of gallons of motor oil are disposed of in an incorrect manner. This includes dumping in land fills or on the ground as well as being poured down drains and sewers.  These methods of disposal can be detrimental to the earth.

3) Less energy is burned to produced oil from recycled stock than from crude stock.

Environmental Factors to Consider

1) One million gallons of drinking water can be contaminated by the used oil from one oil change.

2) An oil slick the size of one acre can be created from a pint of used oil.

3) The productivity of soil is greatly reduced when in contact with used oils.

4) Aquatic life forms of many kinds are put in great danger when motor oil is disposed of in an improper manner.

5) When recycled properly, used motor oil can be:

            a) Refined into usable motor oil

            b) Used in industrial lubricants

            c) Used in the production of synthetic rubber

            d) Turned into fuel




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