Only two-fifths of AA batteries sold on the market are recycled.*
Containing toxic materials, batteries can and often do, cause harm if disposed of incorrectly.
If placed into landfills, batteries can potentially cause soil and water pollution. The chemicals they contain, including lead, zinc, lithium, cadmium and mercury, leak into the ground as the battery corrodes. In more severe cases, incorrectly disposing of batteries in general waste streams can lead to fires.
As the government aim to surpass the EU’s battery recycling target of 45% and reduce the dangers of incorrect disposal, we investigate the benefits of battery recycling.*
1. Reduces Waste Sent to Landfill
Despite the schemes in place to ease battery recycling, Ireland only recycles four in every ten batteries.*
Recycling used batteries reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, which, in turn, lowers greenhouse gases and lessens toxins. WEEE Ireland helps ensure that correctly recycling batteries is efficient and easy by providing a map detailing recycling centres, collection days, and electrical retailers.*
2. Prevents Pollution and Fires
Due to the heavy chemical content, batteries can corrode and release toxins into the soil and water when sent to landfills. Harmful to humans and animals, these chemicals should be kept out of the general waste stream and instead placed into dedicated battery recycling containers or centres to be safely broken down and repurposed.
By correctly disposing of used batteries, it reduces the risk of pollutants in the air, land and water, while subsequently lessening the likelihood of waste plant fires.
3. Conserves Natural Resources
A common theme of climate talks is the number of natural resources available and how best to use them to avoid depletion. As virgin batteries require the sourcing and utilisation of natural resources, recycling batteries decreases the demand for finite resources.
Did you Know?
Zinc and Steel retain 100% of their chemical and physical properties and, through such, can be recycled infinitely.*
4. Reduces Costs
As natural resources dwindle, the cost to mine them increases. Because recycling batteries improves the supply of batteries by reducing the demand for natural resources and, thus, reduces consumer cost.*
5. Produces New Products
Recycling portable batteries repurposes the outer material and content to create new batteries or other appliances. The steel industry also adapts some battery components to create various products, including cars.
6. Generates New Jobs
Recycling batteries helps to create new jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries. A journal in Science Direct documents that just 400kg of mixed waste, inclusive of batteries, would generate the equivalent of one full-time job.*
For more information on battery recycling, its benefits and guidance on where to deposit batteries, visit https://www.weeeireland.ie/.