While they will literally recharge hundreds of times, Lithium Ion batteries eventually will give out. Lithium Ion batteries can easily be disposed of safely, and many of their component parts are recyclable.
According to Andrew Mackenzie from Envirostream Australia, who are the only recycling facility in Australia, up to 45% of a Li-ion battery cell can go back to the market to make new batteries. Other contained materials can be reused ensuring in various other markets ensuring over 90% of a battery cell can avoid landfill.
Importantly, Lithium batteries also contain 40,000 to 70,000 parts per million (ppm) of lithium in comparison to high grade ore deposits of only 2 to 8000 ppm. We particularly need these batteries returned in order to sustain the volume needed to support the demand for Li-ion batteries in vehicles and storage.
Along with many others, Mobile Muster takes your batteries through Australia Post, local councils and mobile phone retailers. Apple will take back Apple batteries and Battery World will take any batteries. Please do not throw your battery into your rubbish bin, disassemble it, crush or puncture it or dispose of it in fire or water. Find a Recycler near you by searching your material and location.
Technically, lithium ion batteries are classified as non hazardous waste. While they don't contain heavy metals like cadmium, they can contain steel, aluminium, cobalt, nickel, iron and copper. At recycling facilities, the batteries are smelted at over 1000 degrees Celsius and the metals separated out for separate resale.
Your battery will last longer if you don't leave batteries exposed to high temperatures for extended periods, for example, inside a hot car. Also, take the out if the device will be turned off and not plugged into power for more than 2 weeks.
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