How to Dispose of Old Car Batteries The Right Way

An old car battery is one of those things that you never really know what to do with. Despite it not working anymore, you still feel that it has value and could be used for something. You just don’t know what that is yet. You could keep it in your garage, but then it would stay unused and become obsolete.

Tossing it into the trash isn’t an option either. So, how do you dispose of old car batteries the right way? There are several places that allow you to turn in an old car battery for free. Some will even pay you or offer a gift card for every battery you drop off. Here is a list of places you can dispose of your old car battery.

Where to dispose of old car batteries

Dispose of old car batteries

1.     Retailer

You can drop off an old car battery back at the retailer that sold it to you if they accept old batteries of the same type. If they don’t, other retailers most likely do. Many also take in lead-acid batteries that no longer work whether you bought it from them or not. In addition, they’ll allow you to buy a new one without paying a core charge.

A core charge is a deposit that is paid above the price of a new battery. It’s refundable to you when you return the used battery at the end of its life. Core charges are a requirement by law in more than 30 states in the United States. Any retailer across the country can charge it to promote battery recycling.

2.     Auto Parts Store

Many auto parts stores allow individuals to drop off their used batteries in exchange for a gift card and even money. AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts are two of the most common places to drop old batteries.

AutoZone offers a $10 gift card while other stores will pay you up to $8 for every battery you dispose. Some will give you store credit that you can use to buy other items inside the store. All you need to do is find an auto parts store near you and find out if they take old batteries.

Read more: How to Change the Battery in a Car Key Fob

3.     NAPA

The National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) is part of a recycling program that recycles used batteries. It has collection sites and different auto parts stores where users can drop off their old car batteries.

The batteries are taken to a recycling facility where they are disassembled, ground into pieces, and recycled. The association has more than 17,000 locations countrywide that also sell new batteries and other automotive parts and accessories.

4.     Local recycling center

Local recycling centers that accept lead-acid batteries are also a great alternative if you’re wondering how to dispose of your old car batteries. You can find a drop-off point near you using a website like Call2Recycle or Earth911.

Here, the batteries are cleaned, taken apart, and crushed. The plastic pieces are melted and sent to a reprocessor that turns them into new plastic products. The lead is purified and sent to battery manufacturers for use in new batteries. The acid is also prepared for re-use in products like detergents.

Read more: How to Tighten Loose Battery Terminal

5.     Authorized Treatment Facility (ATF)

An authorized treatment facility (ATF) is a registered site that’s legally permitted to treat electronic and electrical waste products. They carry out tasks such as disassembly, depollution, recovery, shredding, and preparation for the disposal of waste products.

In the UK, there are more than 2,000 companies that operate as ATFs. They recycle vehicles that have reached the end of their useful life and other materials from the automotive industry. Locate an authorized treatment facility near you if you need to dispose of an old car battery.

6.     Battery Collection Event

Take your used car battery to a battery collection event. The event normally takes place on the 22nd of April in commemoration of Earth Day. Here, you’ll find many other people looking to dispose of their old car batteries. You can find more information about the event and confirm the date through an environmental awareness organization or at your local American Automobile Association (AAA) office.

Read more: How to Reset Key Fob After Changing Battery

7.     Scrap metal yard

Junkyards are also a great option if you’re looking for where to recycle car batteries for cash. They collect scrap metal and resell it to different manufacturers and people who restore, reuse, or recycle metal.

Many will take your old battery for some cash. If you can find an automotive salvage yard, the better. These ones buy unusable and wrecked vehicles and parts from owners at a small price and resell them to recycling companies in bulk.

8.     United Battery

United Battery is a full-service battery and auto repair company that has been in operation since 1969. It offers cash for old batteries that are brought in for recycling through a program called Cash for Junk Batteries. It deals with several battery categories including those used in cars, boats, trucks, semi-trucks, RVs, marine, golf carts, and commercial batteries.

The batteries are taken to smelters across the U.S. for proper disposal and recycling. The company assures users that they do not have to worry about penalties, hefty fines, or paperwork associated with the disposal of hazardous waste. They take care of it all.

Read more: How to Reset Remote Starter After Battery Change

9.     Online

You can dispose of old car batteries online. You’ll find people looking to buy your battery on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Pull-A-Part, Peddle, Google, and through the iScrap app. Other similar methods of disposing of old batteries include finding recycling center programs on Yellow Pages, doing a newspaper ad, and having a yard sale.


Where to dispose of old car batteries for free

You can dispose of an old car battery for free at a local recycling center, battery collection event, junkyard, transfer station, landfill, country recycling center, or local municipal waste department. If one or more of these do not accept used batteries, they can direct you to a nearby center that does.

Where to recycle car batteries for cash

Auto Parts Stores like AutoZone offer cash for old batteries. Other places you can get money in exchange for used batteries include at scrap metal yards, auto repair shops, pawnshops, Walmart, United Battery, some recycling centers, and online. Check Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, Peddle, and eBay. You can also do a quick search on Google by typing “recycle car batteries for cash near me.”

Read more: How to Reset Car Alarm After a Battery Change

How to dispose of your old car batteries the right way

  1. Put on some gloves and eye protection before dealing with a lead-acid battery
  2. Disconnect the negative and positive battery terminals of your car battery.
  3. Remove the battery from under the hood of your car and visually inspect it.
  4. Check for leaks, holes, and dents. Do not touch any leaking acid with bare hands.
  5. Put the battery in two plastic bags and keep it upright at all times.
  6. Transport it to a recycling center, junkyard, or a suitable collection point.

Why Should You Dispose Your Battery The Right Way?

Old batteries that no longer work are an environmental hazard. This is especially when they are disposed of irresponsibly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans buy more than 350 million rechargeable batteries every year. This means that tons of heavy metals such as lithium, lead, nickel-cadmium, and mercury are released into the environment every year.

If not disposed of properly, they can harm individuals who get into physical contact with them and pollute the soil, rivers, and lakes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that exposure to lead and acid poisoning can lead to learning and behavioral problems in children as well as extensive risks to our human reproductive and nervous systems. This is why the disposal of old batteries is tightly controlled across the world.

Fortunately, 95% to 99% of old car batteries are recycled every year. The material in them is reclaimed and reused to make new batteries and other products in other industries. The reclamation has been widely successful and has contributed to making the environment and human beings safe. Be part of the effort by properly disposing of your old car battery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dead batteries worth anything?

Yes, they are. Dead batteries contain plastic, lead, sulfuric acid, and other metals that can be recycled and reused to make new batteries as well as other products. You will be paid anywhere between $5 and $12 for car batteries when you hand them in for recycling at an auto parts store, pawnshop, or recycling center.

The plastic in batteries is crushed and melted for use in new battery casings. The lead is also reused in new batteries while the sulfuric acid goes on to make other products such as laundry detergents. It’s good to note that the money you get for disposing of a dead car battery at any authorized center keeps changing. The value of old car batteries fluctuates daily. All in all, dead batteries are worth something.

How much do you get for scrap batteries?

The average car battery recycling price ranges between $6 and $8. Some auto parts stores and recycling centers are willing to pay you as much as $12 for every old battery you bring in. The international drive to recycle batteries safely and protect the environment is a huge motivator for many centers to offer incentives to people.

Alternatively, you could revive the used battery yourself and sell it at a much higher price. I have a detailed guide on how to revive and recondition a dead battery that you can check out. The process is easy to follow and helps to bring a dead car battery back to life. You will be able to sell it for much more than what you’d get handing it in for recycling.

Can you dump old car batteries in the ocean?

No, you can’t. Batteries contain toxic substances that are harmful to both humans and the environment. They can kill the fish, pollute the water, and contaminate everything they come across. The best way to keep these substances at bay is to recycle them. You should take your old car battery to a junkyard, recycling center, or any auto parts store that takes used batteries for recycling.

You’ve probably seen the playful exchange of answers online about how “throwing car batteries into the ocean is perfectly safe and in fact is actually beneficial for aquatic life!” This is disinformation. The answer only ranks on Google’s top searches because of two things – a not-so-perfect algorithm and people who are quite good at SEO. It is illegal and unsafe to dump car batteries in the ocean.

Will Walmart take old batteries?

Yes. Most Walmart stores are part of a battery recycling program that allows customers to bring in their old batteries. In exchange, the store may give you a few dollars or cancel the core charge if you’re buying a new battery. The old battery will take care of the core charge – a deposit paid on top of the purchase price that is refundable upon returning a used battery. Keep your receipt for proof when you bring back an old battery.

What is the average life of a car battery?

A car battery lasts three to four years. Most last even longer under proper maintenance. The lifespan of a car battery varies depending on the brand, vehicle model and make, the environment, driving habits, and vehicle maintenance.