A lot has been happening in this space to counter environmental challenges. Batteries are available in different forms and sizes to power the intended device or equipment for personal, industrial, or other purposes. For example, most car companies rely on gas for their vehicles. But the growing concerns about depleting natural resources and higher CO2 emissions compelled them to search for greener options, and lithium-ion batteries quickly grabbed everyone’s attention for their promising results. These not just became a part of electric cars, but phones, laptops, and other devices have also increased their use.
According to a Berkeley-based climate research nonprofit, lithium-ion batteries’ mining and manufacturing process affect climate more than fossil fuel car batteries. They say the processes involved in extracting lithium tend to emit more carbon than lithium itself. To your knowledge, recycling companies like Kansas City Recycling center accept all types of batteries.
Some insights into lithium batteries’ environmental challenge
One of the studies conducted in 2019 revealed that lithium-ion battery mining affects climate by 40%, which is unfavorable. Mining disrupts the landscape and produces CO2 emissions, further hampering the environment. Then, even though lithium is not as toxic as other batteries, almost 93% of these batteries used across different products, including cars, go to landfills. It increases the risk of fires. From June 2017 to December 2020, a Pacific Northwest landfill witnessed 124 fires due to these batteries. These fire events have only increased with time.
Advice for lithium batteries’ responsible disposal
America’s Environmental Protection Agency informs that these batteries and equipment should not go into the recycle bins or household garbage. Only certified recyclers know how to dispose of them properly. So, keeping batteries and devices in individual plastic bags is essential. One should cover the negative and positive battery terminals with non-conductive tape. Lithium-ion batteries may have three such points.
One of the German officials believes that there is a need to establish transparent systems globally for customers to let them know how to dispose of them even without needing to ask. It should be clear that scrapyards or manufacturing companies are their go-to options if it’s a car. These are necessary because improper disposal makes a case of hazardous waste.
Interestingly, some materials science scholars in the US believe that recycled lithium batteries can provide even better services. A normal recycling process includes disassembling and shredding the batteries for melting or dissolution purposes. Either way, the process results in a type of black mass, which can be available in the form of goo, powder, etc. One can obtain chemical compounds from this and send them to a commercial manufacturing facility to create cathodes the same way it does with extracted elements from the mines.
To sum up, the extensive use of lithium batteries across devices like vapes, phones, scooters, and cars doesn’t mean the environment is safe. Climate change is still a significant threat because of the effects of mining, manufacturing, and disposal habits. Hence, there is a need to encourage households to treat this waste responsibly, and recycling companies should instruct customers about the best disposal practices.