They may seem small and insignificant, but discarding used batteries indiscriminately is not only bad form, it is morally irresponsible. Commonly used batteries include 6V, 9V, D, C, AA, AAA, with tiny button batteries perhaps the most common of all – more on this later. Consider the impact on the youth of today, and the generations to come in terms of their right to life.
As world leader, America alone discards batteries in alarming numbers, how alarming you may well ask. Safe disposal into the recycling process is making good progress according to latest statistics. However, a staggering 180,000 tons of toxic, potentially harmful fallout still ended up in landfill sites.
Hope We Grabbed Your Attention – Stay Engaged
Battery recycling statistics make interesting reading, all for the wrong reasons:
# A staggering near-90,000 tons of D, C AAA, and AA one-time use batteries arrive at recycling plants each year in the US
# These discards represent an alarming 20 percent of household hazardous materials
# Hazardous batteries contaminate our environment, particularly drinking water when disposed of in landfill as opposed to using the recycle option
# Spent batteries continue to hold toxic acids and dangerous metals like lead, cobalt, cadmium, mercury, and nickel
The Throwaway Option versus Responsible Recycling
Natural waste, such as compost is nature’s gift to regeneration. Batteries of every kind are human-made contaminates to our precious environment. Discarding used batteries as trash means they end up as landfill, which places our drinking water at great risk. We can now add lithium-ion batteries to the contaminate list as they are the preferred option to power our cell phones and computer devices.
While it may seem harmless to throw used batteries into the rubbish bin, users need to give serious thought to rechargeable options. This extends a battery’s useful life to years rather than single-use, and makes the wait for recharging well worth the time and effort.
Moving From Petrol to Electric Cars
It has taken more than a century to realise that the internal combustion engine was never a good idea. The carbon footprint this has left is our legacy to future generations, thanks to stubborn resistance from greedy oil producers around the world. It is not just cars and trucks choking our highways, it extends to ships, trains and the aircraft flying high above us.
Good news reported in the Guardian is that worldwide production of electric cars passed the two million mark in 2017. By 2020, 140 million electric vehicles will travel on our road systems, this according to the International Energy Agency. This will result in more than 10 million spent cells of the lithium-ion variety adding to the pressure on recycling plants. Of course, we are assuming that spent EC batteries end up in recycling yards and not landfill sites, perish the thought!
Necessity, Mother of Invention
For the sake of our planet and all who dwell thereon, let us hope that car manufacturers will have practical solutions to worrying issues about EC battery life. They tell us that they are urgently researching ways to extend the life of lithium batteries that will be used to power EV units.
Even so, we still need to have controls over safe battery disposal, and safe recycling needs to be the order of the day.
Curse of Button Batteries
Button batteries are a truly marvellous invention, and today we take these space saving wonders for granted. They provide power to a myriad of daily-use gadgets and even serve as memory back up in computers, retaining important information with the device switched off. However, button batteries have a sinister side to them.
When we carelessly leave them lying around, our kids can stumble across them. The first thought that enters a child’s mind when discovering a button battery is sweets. Once swallowed, terrible things can happen even with spent button batteries. After a short while, the swallowed battery becomes a lethal, life-threatening weapon.
The message is clear: recycle all batteries responsibly and never trash them carelessly!