What to do with old robot batteries

I thought I’d ask to see what other teams do with old batteries, I mean batteries that can no longer hold a charge. I’ve found some uses for them like holding my 3D printer spools on my flash forge printer in place, or using them as robot weights in a defensive practice bot, or just as general purpose weights. It would be nice to know, if there is something better I can do with them, for example is there a way to recycle any parts of them. etc…

I’ve taken old interstate batteries back to interstate batteries for a discount on new batteries, sometimes they even gave us new batteries for free in exchange for the old batteries to help us out.



  1. Use them anyway and reap the consequences
  2. Use only for test benches/non-comp robots
  3. Deadweight/platforms in the shop like you are using
  4. Target practice for the local police department
  5. Use two old batteries hooked into each other to start a bonfire for the team camping trip
  6. Actually give them to a place that accepts them for recycling

And my personal favorite, give the batteries to the welders and let them have fun…

Disclaimer: I have never done any of the unsafe things above, nor would I support them. It should be clear which options were serious and which weren’t.


Our town takes them at the recycling center just like any other old battery. But I think we will check next time if we can get credit from the seller for them


When I lived in SoCal our city recycling center refused to take robot batteries and everyone else we’d contacted wanted to charge us, so the stockpile built up for years. Eventually we found a local car & motorcycle battery shop, who was happy to take them off our hands for free. (American Battery in Escondido, for anyone in the area)

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How? And why?

There’s some battery disposal discussion here as well:

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We recycle them at the local scrap yard. We get a couple bucks for each one, and the batteries go to where ever that type of waste goes.

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I believe Autozone collects old batteries, but that could be a St. Louis thing…

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The autozone here will take them, but they won’t give you any money for them. In addition, the sealed batteries are exempt from the core refund law (like aluminum returnable cans) in most states.

They are excellent door stops.


We’ve got a toxic waste disposal center in our town that takes them off our hands.

That’s what we do with ours. Unfortunately, we picked early this year to swap out some of our old batteries, so hopefully we can get get a refund or something.

Robot batteries, dead or not, are incredibly useful as weights. I believe that that opens up a whole pile of oppurtunities.
Other than that, most car repair places or boat repair places should either take them or know where you should send them, as both cars and boats use lead-acid batteries in their engines or whatnot.
Course, you could always try demanding a refund from the company you bought the batteries from… Could be VERY interesting.

Not sure how far you would get with this, you would have to make a very strong case, and i’m not too sure what case you would even come up with.

We have a few scrap yards in town. They give us a couple bucks each if we bring the batteries to them to be recycled: http://ontariopricelist.scrapmetal.net/pricelist.php

If they’re completely unusable, as many have said you can recycle them.

If they’re a little usable, but not suited for competitive robotics, when coupled with a power inverter they make great mobile power supplies for the stands (e.g. scouting computers, phones, etc)


We take them to our local EMR in Delaware along with aluminum scrap.

I have asked at some auto parts stores in Houston and they said they would accept them.

I take ours to Batteries Plus most of the time. Just call ahead and bring them in. Never worried about trying to get money for them.

We also try to give any that sort of work to rookie teams that may not have a stockpile, we label them as not for competition use but having extra batteries for demos is a luxury not every team has.