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To car battery distributors:
Cooperative request for proper recycling of used car batteries

1. Used car-battery recycling system

Fearing the unlawful disposal of used car batteries with the crash of the market price of lead in 1994, the Battery Association of Japan (BAJ) announced the Car Battery Recycle System to promote the recycling (trade-in system) of batteries for proper disposal by battery manufacturers.

Figure 1. Car battery recycling system
Figure 1. Car battery recycling system
Stores, battery manufacturers, collectors, and recyclers have cooperated with each other to build and operate a proper recycling system.

The skyrocketing new lead market price has created concerns about the illegal export of used batteries in violation of the Basel Convention *, which might result in environmental pollution overseas. There have also been incidents of theft from car battery distributors and fires aboard ships.

Photographs courtesy of the Maritime Safety Agency
Photo 1: Fire aboard an export ship
It is suspected that used batteries were mixed in with various other articles, and that battery terminals came into contact with metal, creating a short circuit, and generating heat at the point of contact, which then ignited flammable materials nearby, and led to this fire.

Photo 2: Spent battery recycling (battery disassembly) overseas
Photo 2: Spent battery recycling (battery disassembly) overseas
Threat of environmental pollution is expected.

*The Basel Law is a national law that complies with the Basel Convention, which regulates the cross-border movement and disposal of hazardous materials (adopted by about 180 member nations). More information on the Basel Law can be found in "Importing or Exporting Designated Hazardous Materials" on the Ministry of the Environment website (http://www.env.go.jp/en/recycle/) and in "Basel Law and Basel Convention" on the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry's website (http://www.meti.go.jp/english/index.html).

3. Danger when the new lead market price crashes

If the new lead market price falls again in the future, concerns will again rise about interruption in battery collection or the illegal disposal of batteries.

A call for the proper recycling of used car batteries

  1. Please safely store the used car batteries collected from car owners or resulting from replacing old batteries. (Be careful of theft.)
  2. Once a certain number of used batteries have been collected, contact the battery manufacturer.
  3. Some battery manufacturers have a schedule for collecting batteries. Please check with the battery manufacturer for details.