December 10, 2011
Batteries are an integral part of modern life – just go ahead and count the batteries that you use yourself in your watches, computers, mobile phones, cameras, alarm clocks, flash lights, toys, remote controls, power tools, cars, boats and so on. You’ll come up with a staggering number. And chances are that your batteries are disposable, so you throw them out with your rubbish when they are empty. Add to that the batteries used by industry, hospitals, public transport, the military etc and you get several billion batteries that are bought every year, a roughly £50 billion market.
Many batteries still contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can contaminate the environment and pose a potential threat to human health when batteries are improperly disposed of. Not only do the billions upon billions of batteries in landfills pose an environmental problem, they also are a complete waste of a potential and cheap raw material.
Recycling of batteries is quite expensive however with leaps forward in Nanotechnology, China may have found a way of utilising this technology and making recycling of batteries much more profitable. It is still early days as the impact on the environment in making nanotechnology to start with needs to be balanced against what it saves by reducing the current system footprint.
Batteries are classed as hazardous waste, therefore they need to be sent to a licensed recycler who will give you a Waste Consignment Note to demonstrate, if called upon by the Environmental Agency, that you have disposed of them correctly.