With our constant reliance on various gadgets and gizmos in our day to day life, there is a serious question of battery pollution facing us. When the batteries from our cameras, watches, calculators and personal stereos die out on us, they pose the potential problem of environmental contamination. The lead oxide in our car batteries and other heavy metals such as nickel and cadium and the newer lithium batteries pose risks that are inimical to our health as well as the environment.
The importance of proper batter disposal
Those tiny button cells that are used for watches and for the smaller gizmos, are horribly dangerous. Swallowing batteries can in cases be fatal. Toxic metal pollution of the environment – soil and water is a very serious concern. In the United States alone, some 3 billion batteries are used every year, and this creates about 179,000 tons of waste for the landfills. So you can see why proper disposal of batteries is so vitally important.
Use rechargeable or solar batteries
The first thing you can do is buy appliances that do not need traditional batteries, but which can be plugged in with the help of an adapter.
Or you can buy items that use solar batteries. If all of this is not possible, try to use rechargeable batteries as far as possible. Since these are reusable, they will obviously create less volume of battery waste.
Use batteries correctly to improve their life and performance and to reduce chances of leakage. Remove batteries from an appliance if you’re not using it. Protect them from extreme temperatures and never put batteries in fire because they could explode.
Battery disposal and recycling tips
- Alkaline batteries such as Duracell are not considered hazardous waste and can be disposed of along with the trash
- Button cells can be returned to retailer outlets such as watch and jewelry stores and stores selling battery assisted appliances.
- Rechargeable batteries can be taken to the retail store that sells them (this is required by law in some cases by law) for disposal and the store is required to accept these.
- Many cell phone manufacturers offer a disposal program that accepts not only redundant batteries but also the entire cell phone. You may even be paid some amount for recycling the cell phone.
- The batteries in the UPS (uninterrupted power supply) unit can be returned to a recycler or can be disposed by way of a take back program sponsored by the manufacturer.