Recycling Batteries

Teresa Madaleno

Batteries are used for all sorts of household purposes. We put them in electrical and electronic items like remote controls, phones, alarm clocks, toys, and doorbells. Billions of batteries are thrown out every year and they contain dangerous chemicals like cadmium, zinc, lithium and mercury.

If batteries are disposed of and taken to a landfill, the chemicals they contain can leak into the ground causing soil and water to become polluted, which in turn can harm animals and humans.

Benefits of recycling batteries

There are many reasons you should not be putting batteries in the garbage. However, recycling batteries offers a host of benefits.

• Conserves our natural resources like minerals and metals
• Helps protect the environment
• Helps prevent pollution
• Saves energy
• Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
• Allows for recycled materials to be reused to make new products
• Creates new jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries.

Old, used batteries are a good source of metals and can be transformed into pots, pans, steel for fridges and golf clubs; or they can be turned into new batteries, therefore reducing the need to mine new materials.

Many municipalities across Canada have battery-recycling programs. For instance, there is a program called, call2recycle. It accepts small household batteries. Along with municipalities and retailers, call2recycle offers battery drop off locations to make it convenient for people to dispose of used batteries. If you live in Canada, simply click on the link below to see if there is a drop-off location near you.

What is of particular interest now is the recycling of electric vehicles batteries. While EV’s are considered more “sustainable,” they do come with a battery that may only last 5 to 10 years. This type of recycling is just starting to become a hot topic. While recycling these batteries can be an intensive prospect, transportation and environmental experts agree, it is another opportunity to create new jobs. It is estimated that eleven million tons of used lithium-ion batteries could accumulate worldwide by 2030.