Recycling Batteries

In 2018, it is estimated that 90 per cent of installed batteries used in emergency lighting were nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd).  A small proportion of the batteries were sealed lead acid (SLA) and nickel metal hydride (Ni-Mh) technologies.  These three battery technologies can be considered older-generation battery technologies.  These technologies, particularly cadmium, carry serious environmental risks. As battery cell containers erode in landfill, heavy metals leach into groundwater, contaminating water supplies and eventually carrying through into the ocean. Cadmium exposure can lead to cancer and organ system toxicity.

It’s estimated that 5 million Ni-Cd batteries are sent to landfill each year which equates to about 90 tonnes of cadmium. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that needs to be carefully managed to minimise its potential impact on humans and the natural environment. Recycling ensures that cadmium is safely recovered rather than disposed to landfill.

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