Batteries are used in everyday life. Batteries could be found in our cars, vans, and even the tech we use. Technology has evolved very rapidly in the past century. We now have these fast electric cars which are very sustainable for the environment as they use renewable energy sources!
Since technology has evolved rapidly and many things which we use require batteries, there is a huge demand for batteries. But, there are many questions about the environmental impact caused by batteries.
Let’s talk about the things which would be inside of a battery. There are many types of batteries that we use day to day in our lives. We use rechargeable batteries like Lithium-Ion Batteries to Single-Use Batteries like AA and AAA Batteries. These batteries which we use are typically made from a mix of metals and chemicals like lead and acid. These chemicals and metals are the same chemicals found in petrol and diesel which are used to operate cars. Many other chemicals like zinc, carbon, nickel, and mercury also make up different types of batteries.
Lithium-Ion is the main chemical that is used worldwide because Lithium is found inside Lithium-Ion batteries. These batteries are used the most as Phones, laptops, electric cars, etc require them.
Each year, more than 15 billion batteries worldwide are thrown in the trash carelessly. Out of this, 3 billion batteries are being thrown in the trash every year and 600 million batteries are thrown away each year in the UK alone. This is a huge number of batteries thrown away for a country smaller than the state of Texas in the USA! Battery Recycling is very beneficial as it safely extracts all the valuable chemicals inside of a battery to be used again. Many people ignore the Battery Recycling Process and just discard their batteries in the trash. When the trash with the batteries eventually reaches the landfill, the batteries are left there to rot. However, the Battery Chemicals leak while in the landfill causing contamination of the soil and water pollution. Also, Batteries are very flammable and could catch fire very easily. This could easily burn all of the trash around the battery and cause Air Pollution as well!
Did You Know?
⁃ Only 32% of Battery Chemicals could be reused! ⁃ Lithium Mining poses a huge health hazard to miners and has a huge effect on the community. ⁃ 65% of the available water is used for the production of Lithium in Chile. The use of water for farming etc. is hard because of the lack of water impacting farmers.
This is why teams around the globe like our team Recycle My Battery are trying to encourage battery recycling to reduce mining and the environmental impact of batteries. To reduce all of the environmental impacts caused by batteries, the best thing to do is to switch the materials being used inside of the battery!
For example, researchers based in Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and a University in Slovenia are trying to develop an aluminum-ion battery. In this case, aluminum is the substitute for lithium. This battery offers a promising alternative to lithium and will be as powerful. Researchers are still doing research and conducting tests on these new aluminum-ion batteries!
Just like this, we could switch hazardous battery chemicals to sustainable and environmentally friendly battery materials to make more eco-friendly batteries! We better start doing the research now before the time is up to save our planet from danger!
Please do recycle your old used batteries properly to make our beloved earth a better place to live for our future generations to come. Like I always mention in several of my interviews, before you toss your battery in the trash, think about the environment and if you want our future generations to enjoy it like we are, be responsible and always recycle!
Author: Sri Nihal Tammana
Source: Drax website
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