A voluntary program for recycling batteries started in 2013 nationwide. Consumers no longer have only one option with dead batteries – the trash. Influenced by the European Union, the US created its own environmental policies, regulations and strategies for environmental decisions with practices that would prevent harm to the environment or humans.
However, here in the US, our officials veer towards finding clear scientific evidence prior to taking any kind of action, environmental or otherwise. Simply because it works there doesn’t mean it will work here.
But when an American manufacturer desires to sell their goods over in the EU, there is always an issue. An American manufacturer is required to meet a different set of environmental standards, giving them a competitive roadblock. This can become a burdensome cost not to mention cause legal complexities
For example, alkaline batteries, which contain magnesium, are high in toxic chemicals like cadmium, lead and mercury. These ingredients are considered “endocrine disruptors,” and are thought to interfere with the endocrine system in the human body. As such, they can produce hostile developmental, immune, neurological, and reproductive effects in both humans and in wildlife. Still yet, here in America, batteries are still classified as a non-hazardous material and every day, they are simply tossed in trash cans around the country.
The following Battery Directive of 2008 was applied by the EU as precautionary principle to manufacturing, the use, the collection, and the recycling of batteries:
- The existence of heavy metals must be marked on all batteries, including button cells that contain over 0.0005% mercury Hg, 0.002% cadmium, and/or 0.004% lead.
- Distributors are required to treat & the recycling batteries of all usable materials.
- Producers are required to pay for the expense of the collecting, the treating and the recycling of all batteries.
The Battery Directive advanced LCS (Life-Cycle Assessment) is an analysis used to weigh environmental performance along with the associated costs by reviewing the entire cycle of a product life from start to finish, or as otherwise know, cradle to grave. This is a great tool for assessing the cumulative environmental impacts that result from entire life cycle due to the it being focused on raw material extraction, material transportation, and most important, the ultimate disposal of the product which has always been ignored in other analysis.
Each year, American consumers purchase more than 3 billion batteries. Just consider the amount of toxic chemicals that are getting into our air, land, and water. Find those recycling bins and use them this holiday season!