Data Center VRLA Battery End-of-Life Recycling Procedures

Posted by on July 20, 2012

White Paper 36

Data center professionals rely on lead-acid batteries as a reliable and cost effective energy storage resource. However, some of the basic components of these batteries (e.g., lead, sulfuric acid) are potentially toxic if mishandled. Data center owners risk stiff penalties if these batteries are improperly disposed of. Fortunately, battery manufacturers, vendors, and recyclers recognize that spent lead-acid batteries hold financial value and have greatly facilitated their safe disposal.

“Data Center VRLA Battery End-of-Life Recycling Procedures” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

Contrary to popular belief, the recycling of lead-acid batteries, which are the most common batteries found in data centers, is one of the most successful recycling systems that the world has ever seen. Reputable battery manufacturers, suppliers, and recycling companies have teamed up to establish a mature and highly efficient lead-acid battery recycling process. This paper reviews battery end-of-life options and describes how a reputable vendor can greatly facilitate the safe disposal and recycling of VRLA lead-acid batteries.


  • Enlist a reputable battery disposal partner
  • End-of-life options
  • The role of the UPS supplier
  • The battery recycling process


The lead-acid battery recycling system is almost an ecological closed loop. Polypropylene is recycled into more battery plastic. The sulfuric acid is collected and resold as commodity acid. The lead is smelted and returned back to batteries or applied to other uses of lead.

The recycling of batteries is highly regulated at the local, state, national, and international levels. Fortunately, data center owners are not required to be familiar with the large volume of regulations involved. By partnering with a reputable UPS supplier or battery manufacturer, most battery owners can safely dispose of their spent batteries free of charge.

White Paper Written By:

Raymond Lizotte is a Senior Environmental Engineer within the APC Environmental Stewardship Office.  He directs the company’s efforts to develop products that conform to emerging product focused rules, such as the European Restrictions on Hazardous Substances in Electronics (RoHS) directive.  He has been involved in environmental product design for the past 20 years.  Ray studied environmental engineering at MIT where he graduated with a BS in 1985.

Universal Networking Services’s partnership with Universal Power Group, Inc. has enabled us to build a strong distribution network of battery and related power components that meet consumer needs for accessibility, portability, security and mobility, coupled with value added offerings such as battery pack assembly and battery replacement/recycling programs.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic.

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