Recycling is extremely important, but it can be a confusing process. This is particularly true when it comes to disposing of batteries. There are so many different types of batteries and various approaches and factors to consider when recycling them. According to the City of Brantford’s website –
“Recycling battery components is a complex and expensive process due to the chemistry involved.
After batteries are collected, they are sorted into their types and components and sent to licensed recycling facilities for processing. During the process, the plastic parts of the battery are separated from the metal parts.
When lead acid batteries are recycled, the lead plates are restored back to new battery standards, the sulfuric acid is converted to sodium sulfate and used in laundry detergent and fertilizer, and the plastic casing is broken down into pellets and made into new battery containers, bins, and plant pots.
The nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion components in rechargeable batteries can also be recycled. The recovered metals are made into other products, while the cadmium can be returned to battery manufacturers to create a fully closed loop recycling system.”
That is quite a bit of work for such small items. But it’s worth educating yourself and doing your part to be responsible. And while it might take a little extra effort on our part to recycle a battery than say, a plastic bottle, it’s necessary if we want to be more sustainable and create less waste.
When it comes to disposing of your batteries there are a few things to consider – what type of battery? and where do you live? In many areas the modern mercury-free single-use batteries might be able to simply be thrown in the trash, while rechargeable batteries would need to be recycled. But in Brantford they say the same thing of all batteries – “This item contains hazardous material, and is not accepted in our garbage or recycling programs. This item can be disposed of at Household Hazardous Waste Days, held at the Mohawk Street Landfill Site.” For Household Hazardous Waste dates and details, please visit the webpage.
It is also important to note that lithium-ion batteries can cause fires. Lithium-ion batteries store a lot of energy, and if crushed, they can spark and create dangerous fires. When you collect and store old batteries for recycling, you should be sure to keep them out of reach of children. It’s also best to store any used batteries in a cool, dry area and in a non-metallic container like a plastic bin or their original packaging if possible.
In Ontario there is also the Raw Materials Company (RMC) which was established in 1985 based on a belief and vision that all consumer batteries need to be managed responsibly and not discarded into municipal landfills, regardless of type. This company has drop-off locations scattered throughout Ontario and quite a few in Brantford as well. So, however you dispose of your batteries, please remember to do so properly and responsibly and leave the planet a little better off.