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 natural resources.
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 at what detriment to our planet? As batteries corrode, toxic chemicals are leached into the soil and water system. The lithium inside of batteries, has a volatile reaction when exposed – causing it to ignite and emit hazardous chemicals into the air that 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 annually.
- 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 every year.
How can I make an impact:
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Get to know your batteries. It is important to know what type of batteries you have, so when the time comes to recycle them, you can do it properly.
- Rechargeable batteries are much easier to recycle, go to https://www.call2recycle.org/locator/ to find a recycling facility near you. Stores such as; Walmart, Best Buy, and Target all 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 you are throwing away electronics – make sure you remove the battery and dispose of it properly.
- Always recycle your car and small engine batteries. They can be taken to most auto part centers and exchanged, or recycled, for a credit.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Switch to rechargeable batteries for your home. Each rechargeable battery can replace hundreds of single-use batteries.
- Reduce the consumption of gadgets and toys that require single use batteries. The biggest impact we all can individually make – is to reduce the amount we consume in every area of our lives.