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Battery Recycling in Costa Rica

What is the battery recycling status in Costa Rica?
The flag of Costa Rica.
© Unsplash

Lithium battery recycling is already taking place in developing countries, one example being Costa Rica.

As a nation known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental protection, Costa Rica’s approach to battery recycling reflects its dedication to responsible waste management and resource conservation.

Lithium is now considered one of the most important resources in the world, because it is used in almost all the tech components we use everyday, because of its presence in batteries. Lithium is called ‘white gold’ or ‘oil of the 21st century’, and in the last years its price has increased. In November 2020, the price of lithium was $5,700 USD per ton, and in September 2022, its price increased to $60,500 USD per ton due to increased production of EVs.

1.500 tons of used batteries are dumped in Costa Rica every year, is only natural that an initiative emerges to exploit the opportunity, and the lithium recovery in battery recycling is just a big one. The ‘white gold’ is changing the markets and public policies because of the leverage it grants to the participants that can handle it the best.

In this brief exploration, we’ll discover the progress Costa Rica has made in promoting battery recycling initiatives and the impact these efforts are having on the country’s journey towards a greener future.

Battery recycling in Costa Rica by Fortech

The country has implemented measures to recycle various materials, including batteries. Through government programs and partnerships with the private sector, battery collection, and recycling systems have been established to prevent the improper disposal of batteries and minimize their impact on the environment.

In the map below, the territory of Costa Rica is highlighted with the emblem of FORTECH, a company committed to improving waste management processes.

A map with the flag of Costa Rica and a flag with the location of Fortech. Costa Rica map highlight. PEM Motion (2023)

Sales of electric vehicles in Costa Rica are increasing significantly over time, with around 3,000 vehicles sold in 2022. As the next graph shows, this trend is likely to grow exponentially, potentially creating new job opportunities.

A graph showing an histogram of the EV sales in Costa Rica from 2018 to 2022.Click to expand

Gross EV Sales in Costa Rica. PEM Motion (2023)

Course mascot with the dialogue "In 2020, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to have 100% of its energy coming from renewable sources for more than 250 consecutive days. Course Mascot. PEM Motion (2023)


Today, near 5% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries are recycled globally, with dramatic environmental and financial implications for the projected 8 million tons of waste for the year 2040. The importance of battery recycling is high, with all the benefits that range among, the pollution reduction, the job creation and conditions improvement, and the emergence of new markets and new providers.

In conclusion, Costa Rica’s unwavering commitment to battery recycling exemplifies its dedication to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship. By fostering a culture of responsible waste management and resource conservation, the country has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of battery waste and promoting a circular economy.

Up next, you will see a video of an example of battery recycling in the country by the company Fortech, in partnership with the GIZ.

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