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Volkswagen and Redwood seek to recycle computers into EV batteries.

Photo Credit: Techcrunch

Battery materials and recycling company Redwood Materials is expanding its cooperation with Volkswagen of America in its quest to gather more end-of-life batteries from consumer gadgets and strip out the precious elements so they can be used to create batteries for electric vehicles.

Redwood claims their technique can recover more than 95% of battery materials, including nickel, cobalt, lithium, and copper, and turn them into battery components for future electric vehicles and energy storage devices made by U.S. battery manufacturers. JB Straubel, former Tesla co-founder and CTO, believes closed-loop solutions would lower battery prices and the need to mine and export raw materials.

Last year, Volkswagen of America and Audi hired Redwood to gather and recycle end-of-life E.V. battery packs from its thousand U.S. dealerships. Audi launched a consumer-focused recycling initiative with Redwood after that.

V.W. of America will place bins at dealerships to collect consumer gadgets. Cell phones, cordless power tools, electric toothbrushes, wireless headphones, and other lithium-ion-powered items gathered in containers will be shipped to Redwood’s Nevada plant for E.V. battery recycling.

Fourteen dealerships—including New Jersey and Wisconsin—launched the customer recycling program on April 22. In addition, V.W. will have a booth at the April 5–16 New York International Fair. The year will add dealerships.

Redwood started as a B2B company. Panasonic and other firms recycle battery cell scrap for the company. Redwood discreetly began recycling users’ garbage drawer devices in early 2021. Redwood put a “recycle with us” link on their website, an address where users may mail their e-waste, and a “contact us” button.

Redwood reports collecting tens of thousands of pounds of consumer gadgets. In addition, V.W. of America dealership bins will expand the collecting program.

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