Building on a successful trial recycling project, Pick n Pay has formally launched in-store recycling collection bins for used batteries, plastic containers, ink cartridges and CFC light bulbs at its Hypermarkets and selected corporate stores around the country.
The successful project was launched almost two years ago in conjunction with Uniross, the rechargeable battery manufacturer. To date Pick n Pay has collected over 40 000 used batteries. Uniross has taken the responsibility for sorting and recycling the batteries.
“Generally, rechargeable batteries can be recycled while non-rechargeable batteries cannot. That is why non-rechargeables are so harmful to the environment and should be safely disposed of in concrete blocks,” says Michael Rogers, MD of Uniross.
Bronwen Rohland, Pick n Pay’s director of sustainability, comments: “Pick n Pay has always placed great priority on environmental matters. The company has for many years sought ways to promote awareness and opportunities for positive action.
“We are acutely aware of the harmful impact disposable batteries have on the environment and would like to make consumers aware that the incorrect disposal of batteries causes an enormous environmental hazard. By using rechargeable batteries we can all do our bit to ensure that hundreds of thousands of batteries do not end up in landfills each year.
“Currently it is estimated that the annual battery consumption in South Africa amounts to a staggering 50-million, more than 95% of which are disposable batteries. 2 500 tons worth of batteries are disposed into our landfills every year and these eventually corrode and degrade,” says Rogers.
One AA battery can pollute up to 500 litres of water and one cubic metre of land for 50 years. A single rechargeable battery can replace up to 1 000 non-rechargeable batteries, making rechargeable batteries far more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective for the consumer. South Africans throw away 50-million batteries every year.
In a study conducted by Uniross, 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.