If you don’t know it yet, car battery recycling for cash is a thing. How cool is it to protect the environment, destash stuff from your garage, and earn money in one go, right?
Once your car battery is dead (or damaged), recycling is the best option because they contain non-renewable resources like cadmium, mercury, zinc, lithium and lead. If all our car batteries end up in landfills, these batteries will eventually erode and the heavy metals would leak into the ground, contaminating our water supplies and affecting our future (and our kids’ future).
This guide will talk about everything you need to know about turning your car battery trash into cash.
Benefits of Car Battery Recycling for Cash
If you’re not sold yet, here are the four major benefits of recycling old and dead car batteries:
When you buy a car battery, retailers in all 50 states can charge a fee called “battery core charge.” In over 30 states, this fee is required by law since it gives people the responsibility of recycling batteries.
A core charge is a deposit you pay when buying a car battery. In some stores, you are refunded in cash when you return a used battery. For other stores, no cash will be given, but you can save money on core fees when buying a new car battery.
Many states make it illegal to discard or improperly dispose of a motor-vehicle battery or other lead-acid battery. So to avoid fines, it’s only reasonable to recycle your used car batteries.
Turn your junk into something useful
If you clear up your garage once a year, make sure to check for dead or unused car batteries that could be dangerously seeping out chemicals in your house.
Instead of just keeping used batteries stored in your garage, recycling centers can still make use of the parts. For example, every battery you sell will be torn apart in several ways and recycled:
- Plastics – The batteries go through a hammer mill machine to break it up, then into a vat where all the lead and heavy materials fall to the bottom. All plastic (or polypropylene) pieces eventually rise on top and scooped away, transferred to another machine where they are washed, blown-dried, and brought to a plastic recycling facility. When recycled, molten plastic is turned into small, uniform-sized plastic pellets that are going to be used to create battery cases by various manufacturers.
- The lead, heavy materials, and other liquids – Lead is separated from these materials left in the vat and then cleaned before being melted together in a furnace. The molten lead is then poured into molds, which are then cooled, removed from molds, and sent back to battery manufacturers for use as lead plates and other battery parts.
- Sulfuric acid – The used battery acid can also be recycled either as treated water released into the public sewer system or converted as sodium sulfate (used for glass, laundry detergents, or textile).
There are other kinds of batteries such as alkaline and Zinc, Nickel-Cadmium or Lithium-Ion batteries that are recycled differently for safety and proper separation of materials, but can all be recycled nonetheless.
In most cases, a car battery gets recycled by two or more recycling centers, but it is also possible that a facility maximizes its space and does all three.
Support environmental efforts
Environmentally-wise, people are doing good with car battery recycling with 99% of lead-acid batteries recycled, but 1% is still a BIG DEAL In fact, each year about 1.8 million used car batteries are not recycled properly and are deposited (either intentionally or unintentionally) into our landfills, streams and lakes.
No matter how many times a car battery is recycled and reused, it is considered a closed-loop system (which means the car battery recycling process can be done continuously for decades to come).
Aside from being able to get refunds from the core charge, you can also sell the entire used car battery directly to other facilities that buy used car batteries for cash.
Requirements to Sell Car Battery
Do car batteries have to be in any certain condition to be able to sell them?
The good thing about car battery recycling is that most parts of the battery can be recycled and reused in different ways. As long as the plastic of the battery case hasn’t melted and merged into the lead and other components inside, you could still sell your used car batteries.
How Much Cash to Expect for Recycling Batteries Near Me
How much can you get joining the car battery recycling for cash movement?
>The prices would vary by state, but the dollar value of used car batteries is based on their lead content. Expect to earn about 20 to 40 cents per pound of lead, which would be around $6 to $20 per car battery and up to $15 each for truck batteries.
Note that this amount would also change daily based on lead values on the market and factors such as charge left, original price bought, the brand of battery, and if the battery you’re selling is still usable or already dead.
Other battery contents could also be sold. For example:
- brass ($1.40 to $1.70 per pound),
- copper ($1 to $3.15 per pound),
- aluminum (around $0.50 per pound), and more.
10 Places that Offer Car Battery Recycling for Cash
So where can you sell used car batteries? Who buys used car batteries? This list will get you started:
1. Local Scrap Yard
The scrapyard is the go-to place when you want to sell old appliances, bottles, jars, and yes, even auto parts.
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Scrapyard owners are business people and know that almost anything can be recycled, so it’s less likely they’ll turn you away. They would, however, have different market prices for lead. While the average price is about 30 cents a pound, which makes a 21-pound lead amount in a typical car battery priced around $6, you might receive lower rates.
For your trip to the local scrapyard to be worth it, try to call the local scrap yards near you and ask for the current lead scrap buying price.
Don’t know where to start? Download the iScrap app on your phone and locate local scrap yards. It’s super easy to use and even lets you schedule pickups for your used batteries for sale.
2. Auto Parts Shop
If you absolutely need to dispose of car batteries, visit your local auto parts shop because they’re more than likely to accept the batteries no matter their condition. There are two ways these shops handle used batteries:
- Get core charge ($5 to $12 depending on where you live) is refunded as cash whether you’re buying a new car battery or not.
- The core charge becomes store credit towards the purchase of a new battery, so expect no cash.
Some auto parts stores would require you to bring your receipt with you, while others do not. National auto parts brands like Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Pep Boys (among others) are guaranteed to purchase used car batteries from you. Even smaller, family-owner or local auto parts stores will honor the core charge.
3. United Battery
If you live near Longview Washington or Portland Oregon, United Battery branches will give you cash for junk batteries if you give them lead-acid batteries in-store.
They accept car batteries as well as batteries of trucks, golf carts, RVs, boats, forklifts, UPS, telecom and other kinds of automotive and industrial batteries.
To know prices, call (503) 289-6644 for Portland, or (360) 577-3833 for the Longview location.
4. Metal Recycling Centers
Compared to the local scrapyard that accepts every “scrap” under the sun, metal recycling centers only deal with metals and have the machinery to process metals and other battery components.
And because metals are valuable materials that can be recycled over and over again without degrading their properties, scrap metals like those found in used batteries are always in demand at metal recycling centers. Many of these centers even partner with car manufacturers and other buyers.
Just like in junkyards, metal recycling centers use market pricing when buying your used car battery, so be ready for the car battery pricing to fluctuate. Find and call “metal recycling centers near me” to inquire about current prices, but this should be somewhere between $5 and $12.
5. Auto Repair Shops
The amount you can get by selling used car batteries in auto repair shops varies, but if you’re having your car done at a local repair shop or the nearest Walmart Auto Care Center, it is easier to sell your used batteries.
If the car battery can still be fixed (and not just passable for recycling), auto repair shops would often recondition the batteries they bought from you and resell them at the shop as refurbished car batteries. Note that they would check the battery if it is still possible for reconditioning.
If you’re not planning to buy a new battery, many auto repair shops also participate in the core charge program, so check if the shop you visited will accommodate your refund request on the core charge.
Some pawnshops will accept dead car batteries, but others will only pay for batteries that still have a bit of power left.
One thing is sure, if you take the pawnshop route, you’re most likely going to be paid less than the other options above.
If you want to sell your car batteries along with the actual car, just send a form through Peddle, list down detailed information about the car, and Peddle will give you an instant quote. If you accept the offer, Peddle will pick up the car from your location and you’ll get paid.
Peddle is available in 50 states and has over 87,000 positive reviews from past customers.
8. Online Classifieds
You can find a buyer for your used battery without leaving your home as well. Online classifieds are ideal if your car battery isn’t dead yet, or it comes with a charge still left in it.
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Try these traditional online classified ads sites:
- Craigslist: You can e choose your city’s Craigslist, so the swap will just be local.
- eBay: The site takes a small commission out of the purchase price, but you can have the battery shipped out and not brought to a physical location.
- OfferUp: This is similar to Craigslist and is geared towards local buy and sell.
- Facebook Marketplace: One of the most popular social media platforms today definitely will give you more chances of a buyer (the people are already there) and you can use Facebook’s location and other tools to boost your listing. Of course, you can also sell the car batteries directly on your personal page, or join local community groups.
The best thing about listing your used car battery on any of these sites is that you have control over the price and can negotiate if you want to.
Just make sure that when you meet up with the buyer, you’ll complete the transaction in a public place.
If you have a scrap metal business, junkyard, recycling center, or any similar business operating in the U.S. and have accumulated over 500 pounds of car batteries or junk electronic scrap, you can sell them to the eco-friendly battery recycling company, Global Tech Environmental.
You can sell any kind of automobile and industrial batteries.
10. Host a Yard Sale
You can also just keep the selling simple and go with an old-school yard sale, especially if you just cleared your garage and found a lot more items than just your car batteries.
To make sure other people know about your yard sale? Use modern tools like Facebook groups to announce the dates you’ll be hosting the yard sale.
The Bottom Line of Car Battery Recycling for Cash
Car battery recycling for cash is a good way to transform trash for cash, but not something you can earn from regularly. However, even if you only get back the core charge refund for “returning” your used battery at the store where you bought them new, it’s still better than nothing.
Looking for other ways to earn from your car? Try these guides: