How does recycling work?
So, what happens when you throw away batteries? How does battery recycling work? First, batteries are thoroughly collected and sorted. Following that, the raw materials are separated from the batteries through a series of processes. An old battery will go through one or more of the following processes, depending on its type:
- Chemical separation dismantles the various materials in batteries by using a basic (and/or acid) solution.
- Mechanical separation shreds the batteries, making it easier to separate the various materials.
- Smelting: The metals inside the batteries are melted at different temperatures using extremely high temperatures.
How we’ve banned harmful components
Batteries store energy in the form of chemicals and materials. Some of these chemicals may harm the environment if improperly disposed of. Panasonic has banned several hazardous chemicals from its batteries over the years in order to combat this. Consider the elements lead, cadmium, and mercury. These materials could be hazardous to the environment. They are no longer required, however, due to the continuous advancement of battery technology.
This is what you can do to improve battery recycling
Depending on the method, up to 90% of the materials in batteries can be recycled. That is why we encourage as much recycling as possible. This is supported by recycling regulations enacted by the EU in 2012. In 2015, 41% of all batteries were recycled, up from 25% in 2010, indicating a positive trend. In 2017, 61% of all batteries in Belgium were recycled. The more batteries that are recycled, the fewer resources that are wasted and the fewer materials that end up in the environment. A brief overview of Europe's battery recycling communities can be found here.