Can I recycle my old batteries?

As part of the new EU directive, from February 2010, shops selling more than 32kg of batteries a year will have to provide battery recycling collection facilities in-store. This means there will be lots more places where you can take your old batteries for recycling. Try taking part in any recycling or recollection schemes that are established in your area. Find out what facilities exist in your area www.recyclenow.com

So what can I do?

Make sure you are powering your device with the right battery. First, check any user instructions given by the device manufacturer.

For more efficient use of energy, refer to our eco panels on the back of our packs for advice on the recommended battery for the device you are using and how often you use it. Select the device you want to power from the selection of icons and your anticipated usage level and we’ll advise on the battery that is best suited for your needs.

Alkaline batteries can be used in a variety of devices and are suited to most everyday uses. The energizer Lithium round battery is designed for high drain and high tech devices (a digital camera for example). Rechargeable batteries should be considered where a device is requiring very frequent changes of battery or in a household where there are multiple devices in regular use.

Some tips to extend the life of batteries can also be applied such as switching off a device when it is not in use and removing batteries from a device when it is not used for a long period of time.

Why recycle household batteries?

Recycling avoids household batteries ending up in landfill and can also help recover some of the raw materials used for making batteries. Energizer® is active in the collection, treatment and recycling of spent batteries. As a funding member of the 2006 European Batteries Directive, Energizer® is supporting various activities to meet collection and recycling targets.

The primary intention is to divert batteries away from landfill, to avoid metals such as cadmium and mercury in those batteries from getting into the environment.

How is Energizer® minimizing the impact of batteries on the environment?

ENERGIZER has invested massive resources to eliminate potentially harmful substances, hence minimizing the impact of batteries on the environment. There is no simple answer as to which type of battery provides the least impact. The best battery will be dependent on the type of device and how often you use it. This is why ENERGIZER offers a wide variety of general purpose batteries, both primary and rechargeable, so that you can choose the battery and power that best fits your needs. In addition, Energizer® is continuously improving the quality of batteries so that service life is increased and developing high performing small batteries (LR6, LR03, LR61) meeting device manufacturer’s expectations while reducing the weight of batteries, and any subsequent waste.

What is the environmental issue with Energizer® batteries at the end of their life?

European regulators have considered that even though critical heavy metals have been removed from the majority of batteries, batteries still represent a significant amount of non-degradable materials going into the waste stream. Recollection and recycling will result in a reduction of total waste either going to landfill (where still allowed) or to incinerators.

What is the difference between lithium and alkaline?

Lithium and alkaline batteries use different chemical make-ups for optimum performance in various devices. For example, lithium batteries are often used in high-powered, high-drain devices such as digital cameras

After a battery dies, whats left inside?

The materials remaining in spent batteries are essentially the same as those used in their production – typically, common metals such as zinc, manganese and iron. These metals are found in many products you have in your home, such as vitamin supplements and zinc oxide (used for sun protection and diaper rash).

These metals are placed in a steel can and sealed to produce a battery. When the battery is inserted into a device, the metals react with oxygen to produce energy. What is left when the battery dies is the steel can and an oxide. The type of oxide depends on the initial metal used to power the cell. While you may not be familiar with the term “oxide”, you are certainly familiar with one of the most common forms of it – iron oxide, more commonly known as rust.

Are there some heavy metals used in general purpose batteries?

Over the years, battery industry and European regulators have been working together to eliminate heavy metals from general purpose batteries : Mercury and Cadmium were eliminated from ENERGIZER general purpose batteries (Alkaline, Carbon Zinc and NiMH) nearly 20 years ago. ENERGIZER Lithium batteries never contained any Mercury, nor Cadmium. Work is still taking place for the so called Button cells used in watch batteries and some alkaline miniatures which still contain some small amount of Mercury. However, the Battery industry has committed to fully eliminate mercury by the year 2011.