The Facts – Environmental impact of Disposable and Rechargeable Batteries

Annually, over 15 billion batteries are produced and sold Worldwide, here are some battery facts.
1. 660 million batteries bought each year in the UK, that’s an average of 21 per household.
2. Laid end to end, these batteries would travel from the UK to Australia and back again, according to
3. Brits spend nearly £5 million each week on batteries.
4. 98% of batteries bought in the UK are not recycled and end up in landfills.
5. When taken to landfills, most batteries release harmful metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium into the environment causing soil contamination and water pollution. The incineration of batteries can also cause air pollution. Battery waste can endanger wildlife and is potentially hazardous to humans.
6. The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations were introduced in 2009, setting the following targets for the recycling of disposable batteries; 25% recycling rate by 2012 and 45% by 2016.
7. Retailers that sell more than 32kg of batteries per year must offer recycling facilities by law.
8. Rechargeable batteries are less harmful to the environment because they reduce the total number of batteries manufactured and entering the waste stream.
9. Aside from pollution, the manufacture and transport of disposal batteries impacts negatively on the environment.
10. A study by Uniross in 2007 found that rechargeable batteries have up to 28 times less impact on the environment than alkaline batteries and 30 times less impact on ozone pollution.
11. Switching to rechargeable batteries is not only greener, but also more cost effective. A study by Mintel in 2006 calculated that 500 disposable AA batteries cost £380, whereas a charger and 2 batteries costs less than £10 and can be recharged approximately 500 times.
To find out how to properly dispose of your batteries visit
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