Liisa-Marie Stenbäck: 3 important reasons to recycle batteries and accumulators
Over the past two decades, batteries and accumulators have become an integral part of our daily lives: most of our devices run on them. At the same time, technological development has enabled the use of smaller but more powerful accumulators in smart devices and vehicles, for example. The need for accumulators and their raw materials is expected to become so high that the existing mines will not be able to meet our needs.
Reason 1: the environment and sustainable materials. Of all the materials contained in batteries and accumulators, 50–90% are recycled to be used in other products. Cobalt, for example, is an important material for accumulators, but is found in Europe in such low amounts that it is mainly quarried in Congo, often in primitive conditions. The use of recycled nickel saves up to 75% energy compared with quarrying virgin material. Even if there is no shortage, new uses can be found for the materials contained in batteries through recycling. For example, organic fertilisers made in Finland from discarded alkaline batteries can be used to nourish soil impoverished by intensive farming.
Reason 2: safety. Densely packed energy also involves risks. Energy can be released accidentally if an accumulator is impacted, or the poles of batteries come into contact with one another. Such situations can easily be avoided by handling accumulators with care and covering the poles of batteries and accumulators with tape once they have been removed from use. This also prevents the accumulators from being recharged accidentally, which is important, because the recharging of a damaged accumulator, or one that has not been used in a long time, can cause an internal short circuit.
Reason 3: ease of recycling. Batteries and small accumulators can be recycled conveniently at all K chain stores that sell batteries. Larger accumulators (from electric bicycles and mopeds, for example) can be taken to the nearest collection point. More information is available at kierrätys.info.
Start helping the environment today: collect your used batteries and accumulators, cover their poles with tape and recycle!
Liisa-Marie Stenbäck, Managing Director