What are the issues with battery recycling?

Battery recycling

When people think of recycling, what will generally spring to mind is throwing paper, plastic, and glass into multi-coloured bins. There are still many waste products which could easily be recycled, and really should be, being taken straight to landfill sites. Most people don’t even consider recycling something such as a battery; no thought goes into taking the dead ones out of the TV remote, throwing them in the bin and simply getting some new ones.

With the chemistry of batteries being the way it is, especially with alkaline variants, and the metals they contain, they are both hazardous to people and the environment. And by dumping them in landfill sites, the chemicals within them can seep into surface and groundwater, polluting the air and the soil in the surrounding area. The way they are constructed along with the chemicals they contain, make the alkaline battery one of the most difficult and inefficient types of battery to recycle.

There are a variety of different types of battery, each with specific uses:

  • The alkaline battery – which is used in most household electronics, such as the TV remote and many battery operated children’s toys.
  • The lithium-ion battery – which is rechargeable and quickly growing in popularity, often being used in mobile phones and notebook computers.
  • The nickel-cadmium battery – which is also rechargeable, predominantly used in portable electronics and photography equipment.
  • The lead acid battery – which because of its large power to weight ratio, is more commonly reserved for car batteries.
  • Rechargeable batteries typically have a higher rate of recycling than the standard single use battery, mostly being recycled along with the device they powered as they reach the end of their useable life.

When compared to other electronics, most people don’t perceive the alkaline battery to be all that toxic, which may be why the rate of recycling for that type of battery is as low as it is. And due to the fact that they are meant to be disposable, the majority of people treat them as such.

Within the European Union, there are regulations already in place in order to encourage the recycling of batteries. The disposal of batteries is controlled by WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive regulations, and because of this alkaline batteries must not be thrown away with other domestic waste. Many shops that sell batteries are also, by law, required to accept old batteries for recycling.

The United States has taken a different approach; people who buy new batteries for their motor vehicle without bringing the old one with them for recycling, have to pay a surcharge on top of the price of the new battery. This works well for larger, vehicle batteries but would be a lot harder to apply to smaller batteries such as the single use versions, as most people wouldn’t be happy with having to pay the added cost.

RecycleIT4U offer a fast, efficient and friendly service to help recycle your unwanted electrical goods with a simple automated collection system.
To book a collection you can either use our online form or you can speak to us direct during our normal office hours. Our collection booking telephone number is 01952 580814.

We will collect redundant PCs, laptops, monitors, servers, network products, printers, EPOS, Scanners, UPS, cabling, AV equipment, projectors, telephones, mobiles and fax machines using our own vehicles at an agreed date and time.

An official WEEE disposal certificate will be issued, quoting serial number, asset tag and 
description of all the items collected.

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