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Environmental Cost of Hybrids' Battery Recycling? 520

LostMyBeaver writes "I have been considering the purchase of an electric or hybrid vehicle for some time. The biggest problem I have currently is that both technologies make use of rechargable batteries. The same tree-huggers telling me gasoline is bad are telling me that batteries are bad too. I'm only partially knowledgable in this area, but it appears the battery technologies are generally based at least on lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, lead acid and nickel-cadmium. I was hoping someone on Slashdot would be knowledgable enough to explain the environmental cost of recycling these batteries. If I understand correctly, after these chemicals are 'spent' so the cells no longer maintain a charge, they are not useful for producing new batteries. I can only imagine that the most common method of recycling the cells is to store the toxic chemicals of the batteries in barrels and refilling the cells with new chemicals. This sounds like an environmental disaster to me. Is there someone here that can help me sleep better at night by explaining what really happens?"

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