Protecting The Environment And Preserving Resources
Recently, business and individuals alike have all become more aware of the need to make every effort to protect our environment and preserve the earth’s vital resources. History has shown that a number of products and practices that were taken for granted eventually proved to be of major concern to the future of the planet. For example, air-conditioning and refrigeration contributed greatly to health and comfort the world over, yet escaped CFC’s are said to be damaging the earth’s protective ozone layer, creating a serious global problem. Batteries need to be considered in a similar light. While they are a necessary part of everyday living and vital to our way of life, they also represent a major challenge in terms of their environmental impact.
The car battery under your car bonnet contains around 10 kilos of lead, 4 litres of electrolyte, of which about one third is sulphuric acid, and about 1 kilo of durable plastic. In other words, it’s bulky, it’s heavy and all of its components are either hazardous to humans and the environment or non biodegradable.
Now, the challenge for the battery industry is to harness the same technological ingenuity that has served us in the past to provide the answers for the environmental dilemmas facing us today and tomorrow. Now, turning the environmental challenges of recycling batteries into opportunities is good business.
GNB Battery Technologies have led the way with the introduction of ‘Total Battery Management’. It’s a great example of post-consumer recycling in which components of a consumer product – after its usefulness is exhausted – are recycled right back into more of the same product.
Taking care of problems in our own backyard
Based on recent surveys, it is estimated that throughout Australia there are about 1.4 million spent batteries lying in gardens and garages. Acid spillages from these batteries are potentially dangerous to humans and can also pollute the ground itself. Acid spillages onto the ground will contaminate soil, while in the case of concrete, acid spillage will cause severe damage.
So how do you get rid of it? The answer is not to get rid of it, but to recycle it. If spent batteries are just dumped they cause several problems. Not only do they add volume to the ever growing landfills, but they represent a considerable environmental danger as the cases eventually deteriorate, crack and leak dangerous acids. While recycling batteries has no easy or ready made solution, it is one that is a major priority if we are to make our environment a healthier and safer place for future generations.
Already, batteries lead the way in recycling terms, and unlikely as it first might seem, the percentage of batteries recycled is well ahead of paper, glass and aluminium.
Because the earth’s resources are not infinite it is becoming increasingly important to continue developing more efficient methods of recovering and recycling batteries. This will enable us to rely less and less on having to mine the earth for the raw materials need to manufacture new batteries, placing less demands on existing resources and reducing the possible environmental concerns that may confront us in the future.
Simply following these steps when disposing of batteries will go a long way to protecting our environment and our future.
· Do not put them in household garbage
· Do not leave them around the home
· Do not throw them in the tip
Instead, they should be returned to:
· a retailer when making a battery purchase
· a service station or auto electrician
· a scrap metal merchant
· a GNB outlet
You can play your part in helping the environment by returning old batteries. At the same time you’ll also be helping to keep the cost of new batteries down by reducing manufacturing costs.
· The same transportation network that distributes new batteries also takes responsibility for safely picking up spent batteries and trucking them from the point of exchange to GNB recycling plants which begin the resource recovery process. Batteries are broken up and recyclable components are recovered.
· Plastic pellets recovered from old cases and covers are used to manufacture new battery cases and covers.
· Lead ingot recycled from old plates and lead oxide materials are used to manufacture new battery grids and lead oxide plate material.
· Sodium sulphate crystals chemically separated from old battery acid are recycled and sold to other industries as raw material for detergents, textiles and glass.
This article is found in the Virtual mechanic CD Rom
You can download it for the price of a latte, but you will learn not to buy a lemon
By Darren Gow-Brown, Melbourne Australia ©2009