It is estimated that 50-million batteries are consumed in South Africa every year- and 95% of them are non-rechargeable, throw-away batteries.
This represents 2 500 tons of batteries that are disposed of into our landfills every year and eventually corrode and degrade exposing harmful chemicals to the environment. Converting to rechargeables will remove thousands of tons of batteries from our landfills.
A study was conducted by Uniross, a rechargeable battery manufacturer which manufactures environmentally friendly rechargeable batteries. It was established that rechargeable batteries have up to 32-times less impact on the environment than disposable batteries; 28-times less potential on global warming; 30-times less potential impact on air pollution; nine-times less potential on air acidification; and 12-times less potential impact on water pollution.
To support the drive to convert consumers to rechargeable batteries and in turn protect the environment, Pick n Pay customers are being urged to place their old batteries in special, easily identifiable bins at its stores and hypermarkets countrywide. The project has cost R100 000.00 for the bins alone.
Uniross manages the recycling of the batteries, collecting them from stores and taking them to its Midrand factory where they are sorted into different chemical types.
The batteries that are able to be recycled are shipped to France at a cost of about R25 000.00 per container. Those that cannot be recycled are processed locally, being put into protective concrete blocks and then carefully disposed of in a protected landfill.
"This eliminates the possibility of a leakage of harmful chemicals that are found in most rechargeable batteries," says Uniross marketing manager Michael Rogers.
"The majority of non-rechargeable batteries cannot be recycled, while the majority of rechargeable batteries can be recycled," he adds.