SJM Industrial Radio Blog

What is the battery recycling process?

Posted by Abbie Hanson on Aug 24, 2017 1:17:45 PM

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries. That's about 180,000 tons of batteries every year! Batteries are a combination of the outer plastic, metal components and the inner chemical elements. Plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill; chemical elements can take millions of years to erode. This is why it is important to have a plan for recycling your depleted batteries at the office and at home.

The most popular battery materials used in two-way radio batteries are Nickel Cadmium, Lithium Ion and Nickel Metal Hydride. All of the plastic and metals in these batteries can be 100% recycled and used in new products. In the recycling process the plastics are separated from the metal components. The plastics are then removed from the cell portion and broken down in one of two ways:

Nickel Cadmium and Lithium Ion 

Nickel Cadmium and Lithium Ion are recycled through a process called high temperature metal reclamation (HTMR). The high temperature metals contained within the battery feedstock (i.e. nickel, iron, manganese and chromium) report to a molten-metal bath within a high-heat furnace where they are melted. The high-temperature metals later amalgamate and solidify during the casting operation. The low-melt metals (i.e. zinc and cadmium) separate during the melting process.


Nickel Metal Hydride

Nickel Metal Hydride requires a different break down process wherein the cells go through a drying process to remove potassium hydroxide (KOH) electrolytes and H2O from the cells. They are then dried using a time-and-temperature controlled process. Once the cells are dried, they become a valuable feedstock for the stainless steel and alloy manufacturing industries.  

At SJM we make a conscious effort to give our customers the opportunity to make a difference one battery at a time.  As an SJM customer, you can bring your two-way radio batteries to our location and we will make sure your batteries are properly recycled.

We will identify and gather all the batteries to be recycled. Lithium Ion batteries, for example, cannot have their battery contacts touching because it can result in combustion. To prevent this occurence, we place each individual battery inside a plastic bag before sending off for recycling. (our process pictured below)

To find your local recycling center, search online at and enter your zip code, or dial

1-877-2-RECYCLE to find your nearest location. SJM customers click here to schedule your drop off.image1.jpg