Green Party U.S. – Green Technology, Recycling & Alternative Energy News & Information

Battery Recycling

January 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Americans purchase nearly 3 billion batteries a year. Improper disposal of batteries is an environmental hazard. Batteries contain strong corrosive acids and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel. If burned, some of these metals are released into the air, polluting lakes and streams. Improper battery disposal makes landfills more hazardous, as these heavy metals leak from waste. 

Recycling batteries keeps harmful metals out of landfills, air, and water, also saving resources because plastic and metals recovered from old batteries are used to make new batteries. Some batteries, such as regular flashlight batteries, can safely be thrown in the trash, but it is still better to recycle them. 

In 1996, the “Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act” was passed, phasing mercury out of certain types of batteries. The decline of mercury use in batteries continues today. The alkaline battery, for example, have no added mercury. Silver-oxide and zinc-air button batteries contain less mercury today and are gradually replacing mercuric-oxide batteries.
A few steps can be taken to reduce household battery waste: don’t buy new batteries if you already have some you can use; use hand operated products eliminating the need for batteries; and look for batteries containing less mercury and other harmful heavy metals. Rechargeable batteries are also useful in eliminating the need to buy, use, and dispose of batteries. However, they contain heavy metals, do not last forever, and must be disposed of properly. 

The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation can help you find the proper places to recycle your used batteries.

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