Friday, 8 April 2011


This post is dedicated to Tim.  I asked him to name an eco-topic and he said "recycling batteries", so here we go.

No discussion of battery recycling would be complete without a discussion of the problems with disposable one-use batteries.  First of all, there is the manufacture, production and transportation of the batteries, which produces chemicals which contribute to photochemical smog pollution and air acidification. Batteries that have been compromised can release toxic substances into the environment. If you buy one-use batteries, then the batteries either go into a landfill or they are recycled, and the latter only happens if the person disposing of the batteries knows where to take them for recycling, which few people actually know.  Older batteries, which contained more mercury than those produced today, absolutely should always be recycled.  The jury is still somehow out on whether the landfill contribution of modern batteries is sufficient to justify their recycling.

If, however, you are using recyclable batteries, some, but not all, of the foregoing issues are mitigated.  There is only a one-time production impact, although there is also the production of the recharger which must be factored into the overall equation.  There transportation implications will, of course, be the same (if not doubled due to the addition of the recharger).

In Canada, you can recycle your batteries (both single-use and rechargeable) at many convenient locations.  To answer Tim's question, and for those of you also living in North Vancouver, you can recycle your batteries at Home Hardware, London Drugs, Canadian Tire and Rona, amongst others.  These locations accept a wide variety of batteries, including those used in computers and cell phones.  There are even 14 places in North Vancouver to recycle your car battery, if you need to.  When in doubt, if living in British Columbia, consult the Recycling Council of British Columbia's Recyclepedia, which will locate businesses anywhere in the province which recycle anything under the sun.

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