Car Batteries Illegal in Garbage & Drains Hazardous Waste Never Throw Away Car batteries from non-electric vehicles are lead-acid batteries that are illegal to throw in the trash. They can leach harmful chemicals into the water and soil, which would contaminate drinking water sources. Car Batteries Are Scrap Metal Used car batteries can be recycled as scrap metal at a scrapyard that pays for them. Did You Know? Job Creation and Automotive Recycling In the United States, the automotive recycling industry employs more than 140,000 people nationwide, bringing in about $32 billion in sales each year. About 86 percent of a whole vehicle can be recycled into new car parts or other consumer products. Find out more.