Lithium-ion batteries are far more widely recycled than many people think, while China and South Korea are already leaders of the emerging circular economy of lithium, a report commissioned by the Swedish Energy Agency has found.

An often-cited figure is that “5% of lithium-ion batteries are recycled”, when in fact this statistic, taken originally from a Friends of the Earth research report, is itself now nine years old, yet has been repeated over the years and was even cited in an April 2019 editorial for the scientific journal, Nature Energy.

The new report’s author, Hans Eric Melin, a consultant with UK-based Circular Energy Storage, was hired by the Swedish Energy Agency, which is part of the country’s Ministry of Environment and Energy and in charge of administering battery research funding.

The report has been republished in English after a launch in Spring in Swedish. Melin told that many misconceptions and poor observations are made and repeated around lithium recycling. Melin said that more than 70% of lithium-ion batteries recycled today are processed in China and South Korea, with “high” recovery rates of materials.

Read more: Energy Storage News