Although rechargeable batteries have existed for years, even they have a finite lifespan. Eventually, your phone, remote, controller, or car battery will need to be replaced with something new.
Unfortunately, a lot of the resources that go into making these batteries get wasted upon said replacement. Many people simply throw out their old batteries (as safely as possible, ideally), where they then get shipped off to a local landfill, never to be seen again.
BMW wants to change that - for electric vehicle batteries, anyway. The carmaker today announced a partnership with Umicore and Northvold, a recycling organization and a battery manufacturer, respectively. The goal of this partnership is the development of a "sustainable life cycle loop" for batteries. Though there are quite a few technical steps to the process, in short, BMW and its partners will start by developing batteries with recyclable cells.
Once these cells have been used to their fullest -- in an EV, specifically -- their raw materials will be extracted and reused, thus saving as many resources as possible for the creation of new batteries.
BMW does note that there may be room in the lifecycle for a given cell to be used as a "stationary energy storage device" (in other words, not an EV battery) before the final step of material extraction, but it sounds like that won't be the norm.
According to BMW, their new recycling endeavors will emphasize sustainability. The entire process will use as much renewable energy as possible, but the company did not commit to any specific numbers. BMW wants to launch its "battery cell centre of excellence" sometime in the summer of 2019.