Each year consumers dispose of billions of batteries, all containing toxic or corrosive materials. With an increase in portable power, more and more batteries are ending up in landfills and polluting our land. By taking simple steps in reducing our battery usage as well as proper recycling techniques, we can prevent these volatile chemicals from polluting our land and water.
Dead battery? Not exactly!
Batteries are made with toxic elements including cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, lithium and electrolytes. When the lifecycle of the battery depletes the majority of consumers throw them away. But what environmental impacts does that have on our planet? As the battery corrodes toxic chemicals are leached into the soil and water system. Lithium batteries, have a volatile reaction when exposed, causing it to ignite and emit hazardous chemicals into the air, and can burn underground for years. Here are some additional facts on battery waste.
Facts About Battery Waste:
- Each year Americans throw away more than 3 billion batteries, totalling 180,000 tons of hazardous waste.
- The average American household buys as many as 90 alkaline batteries a year.
- 86,000 tons come from single use alkaline batteries.
- AA, C, and D batteries make up 20% of all household hazardous waste.
- Approximately 160 million cell phones batteries are thrown away each year.
How can I make an impact:
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Know your battery. When recycling it is important to know what type of battery you are recycling..
- Rechargeable batteries are much easier to recycle, go to https://www.call2recycle.org/locator/ to find a recycling facility near you. Stores like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target accept recyclable batteries.
- For single use alkaline and lithium battery recycling facilities go to https://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-single-use-batteries/
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- If throwing away electronics make sure you remove the battery and recycle it properly.
- Always recycle your car and small engine batteries. They can be taken to most auto part centers and exchanged or recycle for a credit.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Switch to rechargeable batteries for your home. Each rechargeable battery may substitute for hundreds of single-use batteries.
- Reduce the consumption of gadgets and toys that require single use batteries.