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Most people don't know that lead-acid batteries are the most recycled consumer product in the country. More than 95 percent of all of the lead and plastic from old batteries is recycled.

When you buy a new battery, most states require you to turn in your old battery. If you have any old batteries in storage, take them to a battery retailer for recycling. Trash collectors won't take them because it's illegal to put old batteries into landfills. The batteries should be dealed by recycling plant.

Spent -- or Dead -- batteries are broken apart, and the lead, plastic and acid are separated. The lead is melted, poured into ingots and delivered to battery plants to be used in new batteries. The plastic is chipped, washed and delivered to a plastics plant, where it is melted and made into new battery cases and other parts.

Sulfuric acid can be treated in two ways. One way is to neutralize, purify, test and release it as clean water. The other method treats the acid and converts it to sodium sulfate, a product used in fertilizer, dyes and other products.

Recycling doesn't just protect the environment. It reclaims valuable lead and plastic for manufacturing and saves energy and money on raw materials.