Batteries can contain metals and hazardous chemicals such as cadmium nickel, alkalis, mercury, nickel-metal hydrides, and lead-acid, which, if not properly disposed of, can contaminate the environment.
For example, when batteries containing cadmium are used in landfills, they eventually dissolve and release toxic substances that can enter water supplies, posing a serious public health hazard. This is why battery recycling is so important as it helps prevent environmental pollution and also saves resources. There is also a fact that batteries are also considered non-ferrous alloys as it contains lead which comes under this category.
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First, batteries to be recycled are sorted according to chemicals such as nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, lithium, alkalis, and others. Combustible materials such as plastics and insulation are then removed with thermal oxidizing gases. This is the first step in the recycling process. Most recycling facilities have gas cleaners that neutralize thermal oxidizing gases to remove contaminants and create clean, empty cells containing precious metals.
The metal in the battery is then heated until it melts after being cut into small pieces. The remaining black slag from the non-metallic material that is burned is scrapped with slag crabs, and various alloys that settle by weight are not appreciated. This is then sent to a metal recovery plant to make nickel, chromium fusion alloys, and iron to make other metal products.
US federal and state regulations:
The Mercury and Rechargeable Battery Management Act was passed by the US Congress in 1996, which requires regulated batteries such as Ni-CD batteries and sealed lead-acid batteries to:
- Easily removed from consumer products to facilitate recovery for recycling.
- On the label, identify the battery chemical, a three-arrow search symbol, and a phrase that instructs the user to recycle or dispose of the battery properly.
- Ensure national uniformity in the collection, storage, and transportation.
- Gradually stop using the battery containing mercury.