Batteries can be broken down into 7 basic catagories.
Lead acid: car batteries, ups batteries, wheel chair batteries.
Carbon Zinc: general purpose consumer batteries
Alkaline: heavy duty general purpose consumer batteries
NIMH: Nickel Metal Hydride rechargable batteries
NICAD: Nickel Cadmium Rechargable Batteries
Lithium Ion: Generally cell phone and portable device rechargable battries.
Zinc Air: These are most comonly used in hearing aids and medical devices.
There are many places that will pay for lead acid batteries. These are either sold per battery or by the pound, and some places pay up to $7.00 each for used car batteries.
Also another great way to get paid for lead acid batteries is to recondition them. Most of the time when car, motorcycle, marine ect batteries die, it is because of sulfation. This is a build up of corrosion on the lead plates inside the battery. There are proven processes available to remove this and restore the battery to almost 100%. Batteries are expensive and people will pay for restored batteries.
Here is a very well written guide to battery restoration.
The Carbon Zinc, and Alkaline batteries on the list are usually used in consumer goods in the more common sizes AAA, AA, C, D cell sizes. There are exporters who will purchase these by the ton.
The rechargable batteries NIMH and NICAD These batteries are ussually shredded then melted down to reclaim their nickel content.
Lithium Ion batteries pose many problems for recyclers. There are valuable metals inside of them, but they are surounded by allot of extremely flamable Volatile Organic Compounds VOC's. When a partly charged LIO Battery is shredded, it tends to spark. This causes the batteries to catch fire or explode. There are a number of companies curently working on Lithium Ion battery recycling systems. BCA Industries Is one of them.