Recent years have seen a growing awareness of batteries as a potential source of environmental pollution. Particularly, there is concern about the heavy metals and corrosive materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, lithium and other chemical compounds found in batteries. The toxicity of these materials is well recognised, and the major environmental problem is associated with batteries used in consumer devices because they are most often discarded as part of general household waste.
The use of such batteries is continually on the rise. It is calculated that the average person owns about two button batteries, ten normal batteries and throws out about eight household batteries per year. That adds up to more than 3 million batteries being thrown away each year in the Maltese Islands alone!
The spent batteries collected by our students where passed on to WasteServ and then sorted by type (for example button cells, batteries with lead, with alkaline and zinc-carbon, nickel-cadmium, lithium and other types). These batteries are then stored responsibly until they are exported for eventual recycling overseas.