Table of contents:
- What are batteries
- Chemical composition
- Harm to humans
- Harm for children
- How to reduce the environmental impact of batteries?
- How are they?
- Disposal in Russia
- How to properly dispose of?
- What happens to the batteries next?
People who are concerned about the "he alth" of our planet pay special attention to the issues of waste disposal. Moreover, it can be very different: for example, food, recyclable, renewable. There are also extremely hazardous wastes. These include the most common batteries! The harm from them is simply enormous, and therefore they have no place among other garbage. We offer to talk about the damage these little helpers can cause to nature. We will also give useful tips on recycling and minimizing the harm caused by batteries!
What are batteries
Batteries are an integral part of almost every person's life. It is on them that the work of cell phones, laptops, and various children's toys is based. In addition, they ensure the operation of devices powered by the mains during a power outage.
Batteries are dry,lithium, alkali. Despite the apparent external simplicity, these small autonomous power sources are quite complex. Under the metal case, a paste-like electrolyte, a depolarizing mixture, and a graphite rod are hidden. It is extremely difficult to imagine what kind of harm batteries can do to the environment, especially from the substances contained in used batteries.
What is in used batteries? They contain lead, tin, magnesium, mercury, nickel, zinc and cadmium. All these toxic elements cause irreparable harm - both to human he alth and the environment!
Scientists from different countries have calculated: one AA battery, which was thrown away in a forest or park area, can pollute twenty square meters of land or 400 liters of water! But this is not all the consequences. Separately, it should be said that when burned, batteries emit dioxins that poison the air. These dioxins can travel miles!
Scientists call these objects weapons of mass destruction. Ecologists have managed to calculate what exactly a habit can turn into, throwing away food sources. There is even a specific digital expression of the harm caused by finger batteries: one such device can cause two trees not to grow, several thousand earthworms that make the soil fertile not survive, several families of hedgehogs and moles will die! Although batteries make up only 0.25% of all waste, theyaccounts for at least 50% of toxic metals in garbage.
Research results say that a Russian family uses 18.8 batteries in one year. That is, on average, there are 6.96 batteries per person. And in the landfills of Moscow alone, more than 15 million autonomous power sources turn out every year! By throwing away batteries with other waste, people do not even suspect the damage they cause to the environment! Destroyed batteries release heavy metals that seep into groundwater.
Polluted water is used for watering plants, animals drink it, fish live in this water. Along with all this, toxins end up on our table!
Harm to humans
Don't be afraid of new batteries. But the used power sources are fraught with a lot of dangers! What harm do batteries do to a person? The alkalis that make up this device can burn through the mucous membranes and skin, cadmium causes significant damage to the kidneys and lungs. The lead contained in used batteries is generally a “record holder” in terms of the number of troubles that it can cause: blood cells die from it, it affects the liver and kidneys, causes irreparable harm to the nervous system and bone tissues! Mercury has a negative effect on the respiratory system, while zinc and nickel damage the brain!
All these poisonous elements accumulate in the human body, even leading to reproductive and oncological diseases.
Harm for children
Used batteries are especially harmful to children. After allit is children who actively explore the world, and most often they do this by putting objects in their mouths.
Now imagine what can happen if a baby puts a non-working battery in his mouth. Of course, a chemical reaction will begin, which can lead to irreparable consequences. In addition, used batteries begin to “leak” over time, that is, hazardous contents leak out, causing chemical burns to the skin.
How to reduce the environmental impact of batteries?
There are ways to prevent an ecological catastrophe. For example, researchers say, you can buy batteries that can be recharged. In addition, there are batteries that do not contain mercury and cadmium, which means that the harm to the environment is significantly reduced.
And it's better to completely abandon the equipment that needs such power sources. It is worth making a choice in favor of appliances powered by mains, manually wound or from alternative sources.
How are they?
Every year in the European Union, 160,000 household batteries are consumed. Throughout the European Union, as well as in the United States of America and Canada, there are a huge number of collection points for used batteries. In New York, there is a law that prohibits throwing used batteries in the trash.
Since the harm of batteries is scientifically proven, manufacturers and large stores in the EU selling batteries mustshould accept used devices. Otherwise, the authorities oblige the organizations to pay a fine of $5,000. By the way, the percentage for recycling is initially included in the cost of the battery, and the buyer who handed it over gets a discount on a new one!
Knowing the environmental impact of batteries, the Japanese simply collect these power supplies and store them until the best recycling technology comes along!
Disposal in Russia
In our country, everything is not so rosy. If a person who knows about the dangers of batteries decides to dispose of them, then he will have to spend a lot of time looking for a collection point. Even in the capital there are not so many of them, let alone small towns.
Despite the fact that there is no state control in this area, volunteers establish collection points for used batteries. Attract to recycling and schoolchildren. Teachers and children are working on projects about the dangers of batteries.
How to properly dispose of?
When once again changing the batteries in the player, remote control or toy, do not rush to the trash can. Wrap the batteries in paper and be sure to put them in the bag. Do not accumulate a large number of batteries, find a collection point and be sure to take them there.
There is another great opportunity to recycle harmful batteries: take the initiative and organize a collection right in your home! Prepare a box, place an ad nearby - perhaps the neighbors will follow your example. Then it is necessarycall the management company - they are the ones who should take out the used batteries to the collection points.
What happens to the batteries next?
After the batteries have been collected, the recycling process begins. It usually consists of several stages. For example, the processing of products with the extraction of lead consists of 4 stages.
Batteries are loaded into a large container, from where they fall into a concrete well along a conveyor belt. Above this well is a large electromagnet that attracts excess scrap metal. The bottom of the well is a grid, this is how the electrolyte can drain into a special container. Then the separation of materials begins. This is done with the help of water dust, which is supplied at a pressure of several tens of atmospheres. Small cells and plastic are deposited in a separate tank, and large parts of the batteries are placed in a mechanical bucket in caustic soda, turning them into lead paste.
The third stage is the smelting of lead to a liquid state. The final part of the recycling process is refining. The result is two components - lead alloys and refined lead. Alloys are usually immediately sent to factories, and specialists pour ingots from refined metal, equivalent in quality to those produced from mined ore.