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Discarded consumer batteries add to water contamination

Discarded consumer batteries add to water contamination

Feb 4, 2014

4 February 2014 ~ Discarded consumer batteries add to water contamination – and everyone who uses batteries can help alleviate the situation by choosing rechargeable batteries. Here’s what we know about the situation:

• One AAA battery can pollute 500 litres of water and 1 cubic metre of land for 50 years.
• South Africa throws away 50-million batteries per year.
• One rechargeable battery will replace up to 500 non-rechargeable batteries.
• Replacing non-rechargeable batteries with rechargeable batteries will eliminate 30 000 tons of waste in SA annually.
• Only rechargeable batteries can be recycled. Discarded non-rechargeable batteries end up being pure toxic waste.

From mining effluent to carbon dioxide, the public’s attention is constantly focused on increasing environmental pollution. Chemical waste and the harmful effects of discarded toxic materials are a growing concern.

“Domestic batteries dumped in unsecured landfills contaminate ground water,” says Michael Rogers, MD of Uniross, the international rechargeable battery manufacturer. “About 30 000 tons of domestic batteries, such as penlight batteries, are discarded in unsecured landfills annually in South Africa. Batteries need to be disposed of carefully, however most are not.”

Uniross estimates that this represents about 50-million domestic batteries a year. The batteries erode and leak chemicals such as nickel and cadmium into the soil and underground water table.

The mercury contained in a single AAA ‘single-use’ penlight battery can pollute 500 litres of water or one cubic meter of land for 50 years. On the other hand, because rechargeable batteries can be re-used up to 500 times, a single rechargeable battery can replace up to 500 discarded ‘single-use’ batteries.

“The long-term contamination effects of dumping hundreds of millions of batteries in the ground, over a number of years, is hazardous to humans, animals, fish life and the environment,” he says.

“Most rechargeable batteries can be recycled, but ‘single-use’ batteries cannot. That is why ‘single-use’ batteries are so harmful to the environment and should be safely disposed of in a proper landfill in concrete blocks.”

“Uniross is acutely aware of the harmful impact of ‘single-use’ batteries and would like to make consumers aware that the incorrect disposal of batteries causes an enormous environmental hazard. The use of rechargeable batteries ensures that millions of non-rechargeable batteries do not end up in unsecured landfills each year,” says Rogers.

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