Recycling car batteries is an arduous and dangerous process that involves splitting them apart to extract the metals inside. To do it, recyclers typically utilize two techniques: pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy, Science reported. Pyrometallurgy, the preferred method, shreds the battery down and then a burning process takes the metal out. With hydrometallurgy, the battery is submerged in acid to separate the metal. With either method, there is a risk of toxic fume emissions or an outright explosion (via Science).
There are other issues too. Unlike other compact batteries, EV batteries weigh about 960 pounds, according to Wired. If you are an EV manufacturer, finding proper transportation and storage could prove a logistical nightmare. They are also a fire hazard if and when stored together. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency found that between 2013 and 2020, more than 240 lithium-ion battery fires broke out across 64 municipal waste facilities.
And that’s not all. If these batteries find their way to landfills, harmful toxins such as lead and nickel can contaminate soil and groundwater supplies (via AZO Clean Tech).