Used golf carts will need their batteries replaced periodically. Golf cart batteries have the same disposal issues as car batteries. Putting them out for the trash or setting them in a dumpster is not an appropriate way to dispose of spent batteries. For electric golf carts the issue is magnified because instead of one battery that is in an automobile, a golf cart typically has 6 or 8 batteries. The general way to dispose of golf cart batteries is similar to how you would get rid of an automobile battery.
The most common way to dispose of the golf cart battery is to take them to an authorized re-cycler. Those places are not difficult to find because usually where-ever you buy a new battery, that’s also a place that will accept your old battery for re-cycling. Golf cart batteries today are made of lead-acid. The typical battery contains over 20 pounds of lead. The batteries also have about three pounds of plastic that can be re-cycled as well as a gallon of sulfuric acid. None of those components are good for the environment. The combination is very toxic and not only legally but ethically needs to be disposed of properly.
One of the first sources you can try is to contact your local municipal government to see if they have any programs in place or can direct you to a local source where you would be able to take your battery.
Nationally known places that will take old golf cart batteries are places such as:
- Walmart (many of their stores)
- Lowes – Most stores will recycle batteries. Call your local store(s) to find out if recycling is offered.
- Home Depot (many of their stores)
- Interstate Batteries recycles single-use batteries, car batteries, NiCad batteries and rechargeable batteries. Consumers call 888-USA-4001 or email [email protected] for information on battery recycling.
- AAA Motor Club hosts the Great Battery Roundup once a year across the United States. This usually occurs around Earth Day. Contact your AAA Motor Club for details.
There is a reason that many states have made it illegal to improperly dispose of golf cart batteries. Old batteries can be dangerous to many living things. It is quite easily for humans to come in contact with the lead and get lead poisoning. Symptoms of lead poisoning are poor appetite, colic, diarrhea, lethargy and stomach aches. Coming into direct contact with the lead acid which is predominately sulfuric acid will usually cause skin burns. The acid is extremely corrosive.
The lead-acid batteries will typically contaminate water and soil if not disposed of properly. The toxic metal of batteries is not able to biodegrade or dissolve. The old batteries also will not decay or burn making it nearly impossible for the batteries to “take care of themselves”.
Fortunately, today about 93% of all battery lead is recycled. That makes battery lead one of the most highly recycled consumer products on the market.
An old battery can be totally recycled. Mostly old batteries become new batteries. The plastic in old batteries become the plastic in new batteries. The lead itself can be put into new batteries as well. The sulfuric acid can neutralized and purified and can be used again in a new battery. The sulfuric acid can also be converted into a compound that is used in dyes and fertilizer.