To protect people and the environment, the U.S. Congress, in 1996, passed the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act in order to facilitate proper battery disposal. It enveloped the easy collection and recycling of Ni-CD batteries, as well as small sealed lead-acid batteries. The Act phased out mercury-containing batteries due to its ill health effects. It also promoted the recycling of batteries. This Act helped bring awareness to consumers that they really need to properly dispose of batteries in order to minimize the number of batteries that end up as a hazard in our landfills and ultimately our ground water.
Dangers of Batteries
Statistics show that 88% of mercury found in the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) stream comes from dry cell batteries. 50% of cadmium also comes from dry cells. It’s no wonder this amount of hazardous waste is being created from batteries with more than 3 billion dry cell batteries being sold each year in the U.S. alone.
The problem with the surmounting number of batteries ending up in landfills is not merely the quantity of trash that is growing our landfills, but the fact that batteries can release toxic wastes or metals into ground water and into the air.
When batteries are burned, mercury can vaporize into the air, and lead can still exist in the ash. The vaporized metals in the air can end up polluting our water sources. The metals in the batteries can also leach out into our soil and water. With all of these health and environmental dangers, proper battery waste management is necessary.
What You can Do
Dispose of your batteries safely by taking them to designated drop off locations for proper recycling. You can also opt for rechargeable batteries. These rechargeable versions reduce consumption and the waste that accompanies it.
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(2010) Negative Effects of a Wet Cell Battery. Retrieved August 12, 2010, from http://www.ehow.com/list_5842888_negative-effects-wet-cell-battery.html