For the past years, we used to celebrate the second week of September as Used Battery Recycling Week in Europe. The inventor and physicist Luigi Galvani, after whom the galvanic cell that forms the basis of today’s battery was named, was also born at this time of year on 9 September 1737.
Factors such as standard of living, consumer purchasing behaviour and product durability influence both the frequency of production and sales of products. As the trend today is towards overproduction, the result is increased demands on the environment at the beginning and end of a product’s life.
It is no different for electrical appliances and batteries. For this reason, the importance of collecting and properly managing used batteries is growing in importance, and by commemorating the birth of Luigi Galvani we want to draw attention to this fact. By collecting and then expertly recycling used batteries, it is possible to give life to many products without the primary use of raw materials. Recycling batteries produces secondary materials that can be used to make, for example, jewellery or eyeglass frames, using less energy than when making the same items from primary sources. In turn, recyclates of certain types of batteries can be used to make new accumulators for electric cars or electric bikes. Their use reduces the demands on natural resources in an already complicated production process. In addition to the reuse of materials (copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, zinc, plastic) from used batteries, proper disposal also prevents the leakage of hazardous substances (cadmium, mercury, lead) into the air, soil and surface and groundwater.
It is important to know that all Slovak distributors or sellers who have batteries or accumulators in their sales portfolio are obliged to take back the used battery or accumulator from the consumer, without having to purchase another product. Other drop-off points are collection yards or red and white containers. The producer responsibility organisation (PRO) ASEKOL SK uses the map of collection points on its website to guide everyone to the nearest collection point among 3,650 collection points throughout Slovakia. ASEKOL SK collected an incredible 795 tonnes of used batteries through them in 2021, making a significant contribution to environmental protection. It therefore calls on individuals and municipalities to take an active part in the collection and to support the sorting and subsequent recycling of used batteries in their neighbourhood.