How to safely dispose of your old e-bike battery


When it’s time for a new battery on your e-bike, then the old one needs to be properly disposed of – and not with your household waste. Photo: dpa/

Your e-bike needs a new battery? Then you’ll soon be throwing out an old one, and the important thing to know here is that you can’t dispose of it in your general household waste.

That’s because old batteries can self-ignite, cause a serious fire, or leak and pollute the environment if they end up in a bin truck or the wrong kind of waste.

What’s more, it makes sense from an environmental perspective to make sure your old battery (and even your whole bike) is recycled, since substances such as nickel, copper and cobalt can be recovered from old batteries, in addition to steel and aluminium.

In most countries, rechargeable batteries can be returned free of charge to all retailers who carry replacement batteries, and they are often legally obliged to accept them.

The brand and type of the old battery should also be irrelevant, and it does not have to match those in the retailer’s assortment. You typically also won’t be required to buy a new battery to hand in an old one.

There may also be local recycling centres that will accept batteries like these, but it’s best to enquire before making the trip.

E-bikes in their entirety must also not be disposed of in household waste or as scrap metal.

Pedelecs with electric assistance up to 25kph are considered electrical appliances, and waste disposal companies and bike shops will often take back old pedelecs free of charge.

“Please note that you should not touch severely damaged batteries with your bare hands, as electrolyte can leak out and cause skin irritation,” manufacturer Bosch warns, advising customers to give them to their local bike retailer, who will pass it on to environmentally friendly recycling.

When storing a battery – old or new – try to keep it outdoors and make sure to tape off the contacts to avoid it accidentally being activated. Generally, it’s best to take an old battery to a bike retailer for proper disposal as soon as possible. – dpa

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