When a customer detects a battery failure, he or she contacts a certified repair shop for the brand in question. The battery’s (traction or auxiliary) condition is assessed at the certified repair shop. Due to safety reasons, repair shops only accept batteries by brands which they are certified to represent.
Based on the condition assessment, the battery is classified and a test report is written. This step is crucial to the remainder of the process, as it determines the battery’s method of further processing, mode of transport and safety requirements, among other matters.
The certified repair shop removes the defective battery and returns it in exchange for a replacement in accordance with the procedure specified by the OEM. OEMs and importers have well-defined procedures for the return of batteries to the factory. Once a battery is recycled, it is reported through the producer association to the supervisory authority.
The repair shop installs the replacement battery to the customer’s car, after which it is ready for pick-up from the shop.
The condition of the returned battery is assessed at the factory. Where possible, returned batteries are repaired for reuse as traction batteries or for another purpose. Batteries that are unfit for repair are duly recycled. The final disposal of batteries is reported through the producer association to the supervisory authority.
Recycling at the factory is not available for all car brands. In these cases, the batteries are recycled locally in Finland.
Recycled batteries are packaged in the manner determined by the condition assessment, in accordance with official regulations on the transport of Li-ion batteries.
The haulage company chosen by the importer’s operator delivers the battery to a processing plant for disassembly. Recyclable components, such as metal casings, electrical cables, other metal parts (screws, nuts, installation rails, etc.) and plastic parts are separated from the battery. Any recyclable components are recycled in accordance with regulations. Non-recyclable materials are disposed by incineration. Where possible, reusable materials are recovered after incineration.
Finnish Car Recycling Ltd is responsible for organising the recycling operations of traction batteries. These are classified as industrial batteries under EU law. The producer association for conventional lead-acid batteries is Akkukierrätys Pb Oy.