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Battery recycling

18650 lithium battery recycling

Battery recycling

Electronics are developing at an incredible rate. At the same time, the need for energy that goes with it is increasing. This means an increasing need for different types of batteries and accumulators. It is estimated that the need for different types of batteries and accumulators increases tenfold every five years. On the other hand, this also means an increase in the number of batteries and accumulators that have completed their life cycle. But what to do with a dead battery? And what happens in recycling to an old alkaline battery? The purpose of the Battery Recycling article is to shed light on the issue and provide tips on recycling.


Why recycle?

Why not go the easy way? You buy batteries from the store on your pocket tag, use batteries, and at some point you throw the old ones in the trash. Out of sight, out of mind. This is how you think. But does that make sense?

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of battery or battery materials go into landfill. This means that an absolutely absurd amount of environmentally damaging substances, such as lead and nickel, will slowly end up being absorbed into the soil of the landfill with rainwater. From the soil, substances slowly end up in groundwater, polluting it.

At the same time, these landfill batteries contain a lot of materials that could be used either in new energy sources or in appliances. The raw materials used in batteries and accumulators are not renewable, i.e. once excavated from the soil, there will be no new replacement. Batteries in landfills therefore consume natural resources without being able to be used further.

Living standards improve, consumption increases

The middle class is growing around the world. As a rule, middle-class people want all the modern comfort products that developed countries enjoy. These products include battery and battery-operated electronics. However, in the growing need, we must remember that the earth has only a limited number of raw materials and that the earth's carrying capacity is already partly at the limit.

It is estimated that in 2030 the world will have a population of 9 billion, of which 3 billion will be in the middle class. In the United States alone (323 million inhabitants), 3 billion batteries or accumulators are thrown each year. If the entire middle class behaved like Americans, this means 28 billion pieces of discarded batteries every year. This, on the other hand, means hundreds of thousands of tons of raw material, which should be extracted from the soil for new products.

But how does recycling help preserve this earth for posterity? The answer is raw material, raw material, raw material! Depending on the type of battery, up to 50-90% of the material of batteries and accumulators is recycled as secondary raw materials. This means a smaller need to extract new raw material from the soil. For example, more than 50% of the world's lead production comes from recycled battery. Another good example is the cobalt in Li-ion's battery. Cobalt is an extremely rare element, mainly of which is the Democratic Republic of Congo. The production conditions are terrible and child labour is being used. The recycled Li-ion battery recovers 25-30% cobalt, which can be reused.

When you take batteries and batteries to collection points, you ensure that the ingredients they contain continue to circulate in the material market. More than one million kilos of batteries and small batteries are delivered from collection points to nivalaan akkuser oy processing plant each year. There, battery and battery types are sorted into different fractions to allow the best possible separation and use of the raw materials such as nickel, iron and cobalt. Today, even zinc and manganese of alkaline batteries can be processed into trace elements used in fertilisers in Finland.


What happens to the battery in recycling?

Alkaline battery

Alkaline batteries account for about 80% of all batteries and accumulators recycled in Finland. When the alkali are separated by the line, they are crushed. The first separation of the alkali crushis is magnetic iron (less than 25%), which is processed in Finland as a secondary raw material for construction materials, cars and tools, among other things. The remaining so-called black pulp is delivered to the zinc melting house, where the zinc contained in the pulp (about 25 %) recycling for the construction, automotive and pharmaceutical industries, among others. Zinc and manganese contained in the black mass are also made into ecological nutrient products for agriculture.

In the process, the batteries are crushed, and the treated mass undergoes the dissolution process with filters and cleaning. Surplus harmful substances, such as nickel and mercury, are delivered to a hazardous waste facility.

The final product is a liquid solution containing trace elements, accompanied by manganese, zinc, potassium and sulphur. The solution can be applied, for example, with irrigation water to promote the growth of food and crops.

Recycling from raw materials for alkaline batteries will be reused by about 80%!

Li-ion battery recycling

laptop battery cells
Laptop batteries are most commonly made up of 18,650 li-ion cells.


Cobalt-rich lithium batteries, mainly used in mobile phones and laptops, are treated at the Akkuser recycling plant in a two-stage crushing process.

The fractions from the processing include, inter alia, 25-30 % cobalt and 15-20 % copper, which are recirculated into industrial raw materials. Cobalt is an important raw material in batteries, and copper is needed in the electronics industry.

Cobalt is delivered to the Cobalt refinery in Kokkola, where recycled cobalt is processed for reuse in industry. Cobalt recycling saves not only energy but also virgin cobalt.

Li-ion batteries with low cobalt or cobalt-free batteries, such as those used in tools, contain copper, nickel, manganese, aluminium and iron, depending on the type of battery. So far, these batteries account for a relatively small proportion of all batteries and accumulators that end up in recycling.

Li-ion battery recycling
Study of Wiley Analytical Science website: Reapplication of the Recovered Materials as Lithium Ion Battery Materials


Coin cell batteries

Coin cell batteries are mechanically separated from others and distributed to large and small. Small are often so-called silver oxide batteries from their chemical fields, which contain 2-4% silver. They are forwarded to a precious metal processor for recovery, and silver can be reused, for example, in the electronics industry.

NiMH batteries

Nickel metal hydride batteries, such as rechargeable batteries resembling an alkaline battery, are treated after sorting. Akkuser has developed its own Dry-Technology method to crush batteries and separate different substances from the cracking by magnetic ally and other mechanical methods.

In nickel metal hydride skuas, the main metals to be recovered are nickel and cobalt, which are approximately 35% in total. Nickel is needed, for example, in the manufacture of stainless steel and rare cobalt, especially in smartphone batteries.

Upon arrival at the Akkuser facility, nimh batteries are first crushed. After that, the extracting of the walrus is extracted, for example, nickel and cobalt (a total of 35%). Recycled nickel saves up to 75% of energy compared to virgin material mining.

battery battery recycling

Lead-acid batteries

Box-like sealed lead-groom batteries contain between 65% and 90% lead, which is very harmful when released into the environment, but is easy to recycle. From the Nivala processing plant Akkuser, lead-acid batteries are delivered to foreign lead-acid recycling plants through a finnish collector, where lead is recovered and used mainly in the manufacture of new lead-acid batteries. The process also includes the neutralisation of the acids contained in the batteries.

lead-acid battery recycling
Picture akkukierrä


Nickel cadium

For example, nickel-cadmium batteries used in old, cordless tools are delivered to recycling plants suitable from Nivala, where the materials contained therein are separated in a multi-stage process.

Ferronickel contained in nickel-cadmium batteries (60 %) recycled for re-use in steel making and cadmium (15%) for example, in the manufacture of new batteries. Using recycled nickel saves up to 75% of energy compared to virgin material mining.

How do I recycle batteries?

You can easily recycle batteries and small batteries on a shopping trip. As a rule, batteries and small batteries can be returned free of charge and without the need to purchase a new product for shops selling batteries/accumulators. If the container is not visible, please contact the store staff for assistance.

However, large lithium batteries are not collected in stores, which are used in electronic range devices such as electric bikes, mopeds and scooters, as well as balance boards. Their collection points can be found in kierratys.infosearchservice. Read more about collection points here.


Be sure to tape the battery and battery terminals before leaving them in the container. With this easy gig, make sure that the recirculation container does not catch fire due to short-circuiting. For detailed safety instructions, see paristokierrä .

battery recycling
Batteries and accumulators are not part of other waste, from which heavy metals end up in nature and water courses.


There are only a limited amount of raw materials in the world. As consumption increases, only recycling can ensure the adequacy of the raw material! In addition, batteries entering landfill or nature pollute and leak harmful substances, which may contaminate groundwater! You too make an eco-design and recycle your batteries and batteries. With little effort, you'll be saving nature and leaving behind a cleaner world for posterity. Battery recycling is easy!

Remember that many old batteries can be rebuilt! Send us your old battery and we'll put new life into it with new battery cells and recycle the old ones. We can get all kinds of batteries to be used, e.g. e-bike batteries. Read more Proakku battery packs on the sides!

Checklist for recycling:

  • Tape the terminals of batteries and accumulators to avoid the risk of fire! The exhausted batteries always have some charge left, which causes a short circuit when hitting metal, for example.
  • Pack leaky and rusty batteries and batteries in a separate plastic bag so that irritants do not end up on the skin or other surfaces.
  • Keep used and taped batteries out of the reach of children.
  • Take the batteries and accumulators to the collection during a shopping trip, so that they cannot accumulate in large quantities in your home.

What can I return to the shops?

  • Alkaline batteries (standard disposable batteries: e.g. AA and AAA pole batteries, coin-cell batteries and 9V-pop-up batteries)
  • Lithium batteries (standard disposable batteries: e.g. AA pole batteries and 9V batteries)
  • Coin cell batteries
  • Nimh (rechargeable batteries and accumulators for cordless tools, e.g. non-wired batteries)
  • nickel-cadmium batteries NiCd (batteries for cordless tools, e.g.
  • Small lithium batteries (for mobile phones, laptops, backup power supplies, cameras, cordless tools,
  • Small sealed lead-beam batteries (batteries for ups, solar cell and alarm systems,

What can't be returned to the store?

  • Large lithium batteries " Large lithium batteries such as batteries for electric bikes, balance ferries, mopeds, quadbikes and top-level moist cutters can be returned to regional collection points. The nearest regional collection point can be found at: kierrä
  • Vehicle batteries • The nearest regional collection point can be found at: kierrä
  • Large batteries designed exclusively for industrial or professional use " Contact your battery distributor for recycling instructions.

Remember these:

Take him to where you bought it.

No batteries and accumulators are covered by mixed waste!

Battery recycling is top notch in Finland – by recycling you support Finnish innovation!