is largely due to the rapid increase in portable power-consuming products such as cellular phones and video cameras, toys and laptop computers.
Each year consumers dispose of billions of batteries, all containing toxic or corrosive materials.
Some batteries contain toxic metals such as cadmium and mercury, lead and lithium, which become hazardous waste and pose threats to health and the environment if improperly disposed.
Manufacturers and retailers are working continuously to reduce the environmental impact of batteries by producing designs that are more recyclable and contain fewer toxic materials.
The global environmental impact of batteries is assessed in terms of four main indicators. These indicators further distinguish the impact of disposable and rechargeable batteries.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries.
That's about 180,000 tons of batteries.
More than 86,000 tons of these are single use alkaline batteries.
Imagine, placed end to end these dead alkaline batteries alone would circle the world at least six times.
About 14,000 tons of rechargeable batteries are thrown away in the United States.
Today, the best rechargeable batteries are the “low self-discharge” Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) cells.
These batteries have a lot going for them: they come fully charged (like alkaline batteries), and they can hold their charge over many months (unlike regular Ni-MH rechargeables). Because they can hold their charge for so long, they are suitable for low-drain devices like remote controls and flashlights. However, they are ideal for use in high-drain electronic devices like digital cameras, where they out-perform alkalines.