It isn’t laborious to see the attraction of recycling batteries — whether or not that time period is referring to the facility sources of family objects or the huge high-tech units used to energy electrical autos. A extra sustainable future entails discovering methods to repurpose waste merchandise in as some ways as doable, whether or not that’s utilizing outdated EV batteries as turbines or reworking meals waste into booze.
That stated, there are challenges to pulling off battery recycling with minimal environmental impression — and the potential hazards of that strategy are one of many issues environmental research professor James Morton Turner mentioned in his current guide Charged: A Historical past of Batteries and Classes for a Clear Vitality Future.
In an excerpt from the guide featured at Literary Hub, Turner explored the methods during which recycling can have unintended penalties. Turner writes that recycling lead-acid batteries — like the sort used to start out automobiles and vans — moved abroad earlier this century. Turner notes that there have been environmental laws in place to control how these batteries have been recycled in — to quote one instance — Mexico.
Having laws and implementing them are two various things, nevertheless — and Turner writes that the environmental tips underneath NAFTA for any such recycling have been “inconsistently enforced.”
It could not shock you to study that incidents of lead poisoning elevated in some international locations the place lead-acid battery recycling services exist, such because the Dominican Republic and Senegal. Turner’s writing on the topic makes an impassioned case for pondering by means of the entire steps of the recycling course of — and ensuring that measures designed with the surroundings in thoughts don’t find yourself making it worse.
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