Environment Canada (a major Government agency) has released the Canadian Consumer Battery Baseline Study, which reveals that the annual number of consumer batteries discarded is increasing dramatically, releasing a growing amount of dangerous substances into land and water.

The Study provides the first national estimates of the amount of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead that are potentially released into the environment through the disposal of batteries. It also suggests that the rate of recycling of rechargeable batteries, which contain toxic substances of concern, is very low.

Canadians can get involved and recycle batteries such as those used in cellular phones, cordless power tools and laptop computers through many participating retailers and municipalities across Canada.

In 2004, an estimated 450 million (15,182 tonnes) consumer batteries were sold into the Canadian marketplace. Of this total, 430.5 million units (10,991 tonnes) were primary batteries, and 19.7 million (4,191 tonnes) were secondary batteries. Within the primary battery category, most of the sales consisted of alkaline (ZnMnO2) batteries at 309.5 million units, followed by zinc carbon (ZnC) batteries at 81.2 million units. In the secondary consumer battery category, nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries account for 12.8 million of the units sold in 2004 followed by 4.1 million nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries made up a small percentage of the total at 1.54 million units sold in 2004 as did small lead acid (SSLA) batteries at 1.1 million units sold in 2004 and lithium polymer (Li-polymer) at 140,000 units sold in 2004. The market share of battery sales is expected to change from 2004 to 2010.

The primary battery market share is expected to decline slightly with secondary batteries taking up the change in market share. By 2010, a decline in market share of zinc carbon primary batteries is predicted, with the other primary chemistries increasing slightly (i. alkaline) or remaining stable. Looking out at 2010, the breakdown of secondary battery sales is expected to change. Total units sold are expected to increase to 38.6 million units by 2010, compared to 19.7 million units sold in 2004. While overall nickel cadmium (NiCd) sales will continue to increase, their share of the market will be lower by 2010 (based on data purchased from Global Industry Analysts) accounting for 58% of secondary battery sales (from the current 65% market share). NiCd batteries are being replaced by NiMH and lithium batteries which do not suffer from memory loss and do not contain cadmium. By 2010, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries will have a higher market share compared with 2004.

An estimated 7.6 million batteries (323 tonnes) were recycled and 340 million (11,300 tonnes) consumer batteries were disposed in 2004. Of this total, an estimated 6.7 million primary battery units (172 tonnes) were recycled and an estimated 817,000 secondary battery units (151 tonnes) were recycled. Of the amount disposed, 330 million units (8,437 tonnes) were primary consumer batteries and 10.3 million units (2,863 tonnes) were secondary consumer batteries. In 2004, most of the primary batteries recycled and disposed were alkaline (about 4.7 million units recycled and about 229 million units disposed in 2004), followed by carbon zinc (ZnC) batteries (1.4 million recycled and 71 million units disposed). Most of the secondary batteries recycled and disposed are NiCd (estimated at 651,000 units recycled and 7.7 million units disposed) followed by nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion.

The estimates show that only 7,000 SSLA‘‘s were recycled and 1.1 million disposed; this may be an overestimate due to the lack of availability of reliable SSLA sales figures and projections. By 2010, the total amount of consumer batteries recycled and disposed will have increased to 11.8 m

Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #16-2007-March 20, 2007
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
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