Monday, 15 April 2013

Reason of treating and recycling waste batteries

Waste battery has been one of the major waste problems encountered by many cities around the world; Hong Kong is of no exception. The chemicals found within the battery will not only harm the environment but is also affecting our health. With our increasing materialized desires and the increasing usage and demand of electronic appliances, more waste batteries have been generated. Improper and irresponsible discarding of waste battery together with household waste will cause adverse impacts to the ecosystem since batteries contain hazardous chemical substances such as cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, which are all heavy metals.

In the case of Hong Kong, if these waste batteries are disposed along with our municipal waste, these wastes will be disposed in the three strategic landfills, and increasing the toxicity levels of the landfills due to the release of heavy metals. These heavy metals will pollute the underground soil and water table and once entered the food chain, bioaccumulation and biomagnifications will occur, which will directly affect out health.

Providing treatment to used batteries can minimize and eliminate the pollution generated by the leakage of heavy metals. In addition, metals contained in the waste batteries are recyclable resources that can be extracted again and reuse in other areas. Recycling the usable materials to the best possible extent can also reduce the burden to the landfill. Any electrolyte generated from the process should be treated as chemical wastes and proper neutralization, treatment before further discharge according to Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department’s requirement should be ensured.

Normal waste battery treatment in Dunwell includes steps of prescreening, refurbishment, dismantling, recycling and disposal. Handling these waste batteries requires special attention to prevent these hazardous chemicals from both leakages to the environment and health risk to our staffs. Such procedures include inspection of residual charges to prevent electric shocks, spill control of electrolytes and electrodes during transportation and dismantling.
The used batteries will be dissembled and separated into metal, plastic, and electrolyte and then sent to recycling points respectively. All handling processes are conducted in an environmental sound and safe manner, in lines with the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department’s Waste Disposal Ordinance and the requirements under the international Basel Convention.   

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