Nearly 18 tons of batteries have been collected since the introduction of a joint battery recycling programme instituted by Pick n Pay and rechargeable battery manufacturer Uniross last year.
“The recycling project began on a relatively small scale and has grown to include collection bins are located at most Pick n Pay stores,” says Michael Rogers, MD of Uniross.
“The majority of the batteries collected are alkaline which are non-rechargeable and cannot be recycled. Our message to the consumer is to switch to rechargeable batteries as they will benefit from significant cost savings while protecting the environment.”
Bronwen Rohland, Pick n Pay’s director of marketing and sustainability, adds: “We recognise that sustainability practices need to be top of the agenda for all businesses and a priority for every household. We’d like to create awareness amongst our customers that the incorrect disposal of used batteries has the potential to have a severely negative impact on the environment.”
It is estimated that the annual domestic battery consumption in South Africa amounts to about 100-million, of which more than 95% are throw-away batteries. “Approximately 30 000 tons of batteries are disposed into our landfills each year,” 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 90-million batteries every year.