Most people know that batteries come with potentially harmful metals like mercury, lead, acid, nickel cadmium, alkaline and other such unpleasant materials. Even if the general public does not know the names of the chemicals, we know there are toxins contained inside that should not be tossed away casually in the bin. If not disposed of in the right way, these chemicals from batteries will certainly contaminate the environment.
A good example of this is a landfill which contains cadmium found in batteries. In this circumstance, the cadmium would eventually seep into the ground, making it possible to infiltrate into the water supply. Naturally, illness and even death would be likely to follow. This is why battery recycling not only benefits the health of the public at large, but also the environment in terms of conservation and purity.
Whether its cell phone batteries, car, or computer batteries, they all need to be disposed of properly. The only difference is that the process of disposal will depend on the type of chemicals found inside the battery. Some regulations are already in place that has reduced the mercury content in widely used batteries. The amount of alkaline in many of them has been cut by 97%. Even with lesser chemical content, it is still unsafe to ignore the recycling of batteries.
These days it is much easier to safely dispose of your old batteries. Years ago, people had to call their local council, that is if the council operated any kind of disposal system. Now a person can drive to the local recycling centre, which is now available to most people within a reasonable distance from their house. A good amount of supermarket chains also have a battery disposal service. Electronic retail stores, repair shops, and even bookstores now offer battery disposal in many locations.
In the UK, the government is not taking chances on people who might be lax in seeing their batteries recycled. In February of 2010 a piece of legislation will become active to enforce recycling batteries. The new law will require retailers who sell more than 70 pounds or 32kg of batteries a year to make free battery collection and recycling available to the general public. Officials aim for the country to have 25% of its batteries that are in circulation to be recycled. This should improve recycling from the meagre 5% of recycled batteries in the country currently.
The European Union is taking a much more aggressive stance in enforcing not only battery recycling, but also the content of the batteries themselves. Their goal is to ban the sale of batteries that have trace amounts of mercury and nickel cadmium. Another part of the EU agreement is that batteries must be labelled clearly with information pertaining to the battery’s shelf life.
The producers of batteries must all be registered and make their batteries removable. This soon to be law has raised the ire of the battery producing industry because they will have to bear the cost of compliance. Moderate voices who have the health of the industry and the health of the environment in mind, hope to introduce an effective comprise.