It’s that time of the year again, no I’m not talking about breaking those New Years resolutions, (yes, you still have to go to the gym) I’m talking about changing out those old batteries in your smoke detectors! Get out those step ladders cause Its time to change them out! Be sure to remember how key it is to properly recycle batteries and any other e-waste you might have laying around the house.
The Dangers of Improper E-Waste Disposal
Televisions, Computer monitors, cell phones and Batteries are all examples of e-waste! It’s been noted that only 12.5% of e-waste is being recycled. Even though e-waste only represents a sliver of Americas trash in landfills, it still results in 70% of overall hazardous waste.
Ring-Ring, who needs an alarm clock, when you have that as a wake-up call! Any amount of e-waste in our landfills is clearly more than enough! Household batteries are one of the main culprits in omitting this toxic waste. They may seem small and innocent, but it’s always the ones you’d least expect that can cause the most harm.
Since restrictions on mercury use have been implemented, batteries are less harmful than they used to be. Unfortunately, they do still contain some traces of mercury and continue to feature other toxic heavy metals such as; Nickel, Cadmium and Lead. When improperly disposed of, these terrible tubes of toxins (say that three times fast) make their way into our landfills.
Although not harmful while completely sealed, once the battery casings have corroded they can be deemed as a hazard. If batteries sit in a landfill long enough, they will start to rust and decay. This lets the toxic heavy metals from inside to leak out into the soil and enter our water supply, ultimately ending up in our bodies.
These toxic metals can cause significant health risks including; liver and kidney damage, asthma, cancer and other various health problems. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very appealing to me! This can all be avoided and drastically reduced by keeping batteries out of our landfills through proper recycling.
How Do You Properly Dispose of Batteries?
I think I’ve scared you enough for one blog! Rest assured that there is nothing wrong with using batteries, as long as they are properly disposed of. Household batteries must be recycled separately from your other recycling goods, into “battery only!” designated bins! This ensures that these potentially harmful but useful energy packs will be handled with the proper care needed to eliminate and protect us from the toxins inside.
Not only will this keep those toxins far away from our landfills, but it will allow for the raw materials to be extracted from them, collected and be either reused or repurposed. The same can be done for re-usable car and cell phone batteries.
I would highly encourage the use of rechargeable batteries in an attempt to cut back on the total amount of batteries in circulation. In doing so, we could substantially reduce the total percentage of batteries in circulation and lower the number of batteries ending up in landfills. The simple action of recycling batteries in a battery bin can effectively eliminate the impact e-waste has on our health and our natural resources.
Keep the plus side up (+) and eliminate the negative charge (-) from batteries!