In today`s world, those who are conscious of the environment in which they live are acutely aware of the benefits of recycling our waste products. With batteries and electrical equipment, taking them to be recycled is even more important as it can be hazardous to throw them into the `normal` bin which gets sent to the landfill waste.
Old batteries, even if they don`t work anymore, contain hazardous substances and chemicals which can cause damage to the environment as well as the potential risk of explosion if incinerated. This means that old batteries shouldn`t be disposed of into landfill waste.
The old batteries which you should recycle cover all batteries that you are likely to have – from small watch batteries, to mobile phone batteries, AA, AAA all the way to laptop batteries. If you have old car batteries however, you should contact your local authority to find out where you can recycle or dispose of them.
When an old battery is recycled, the metal and some other substances are recycled directly, and the parts which cannot be recycled are safely disposed of, meaning that you are both keeping yourself and everyone else safe, as well as helping to save increasingly scarce natural resources.
If you have a rechargeable battery, you can tell that it is ready to be recycled when it doesn`t hold its charge any more. Most good quality rechargeable batteries can be recycled 100s or even 1000s of times, but once that you start to notice that you are continually recharging for long amounts of time, with very little battery life, it`s time to recycle those ones and get some new ones.
How to Recycle
There are many places that you can take your old batteries to, to be recycled. An EU directive in 2010 stipulates that any businesses who sell more than 32kg of batteries must offer a battery recycling service. Companies such as Duracell offer a whole range of battery recycling services, for example.
When you are ready to recycle your old batteries, you can:
- Take them to a box on one of thousands of trade counters around the country
- Take them to the recycling area at your local dump or waste disposal area
- Contact your local council`s waste collection service – if you have one
- Drop them in at the battery recycling service at your local supermarket – most have one
- Use one of the battery retailer`s battery collection services such as that offered by Duracell.
It is worth remembering that a special trip to dispose of old batteries isn`t usually necessary and, frankly, can be more damaging to the environment than waiting until the next time that you are visiting your local supermarket. It is not advised to send batteries through the post, and if you have an old battery which is leaking, put it inside a cardboard or plastic container to take it to be recycled – and make sure that it doesn`t have any contact with your skin.
The recycling of old batteries is important for both helping to save the environment and the safe disposal of them. It is easy to do and free, so there is no reason why we can`t all play our part.