SUNNYVALE, Calif., April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- We often talk about the billions of batteries that end up in landfills every year, and we know green-inclined consumers feel guilty every time they throw away used batteries. This is why Batteroo has invested so much time and engineering talent into solving this environmental problem.
However, before you even buy that pack of double As, they have already created a significant ecological footprint.
Manufacturing batteries requires large amounts of metal and mineral components like zinc, manganese, nickel, and iron for steel. In and of themselves, zinc and manganese are not considered pollutants. The human body even requires small amounts of both for optimal health. Iron is also an essential nutrient, though toxic at high doses, and chronic exposure to nickel, while rare, is also extremely dangerous.
But when we trace the supply chain for these usually benign substances, their footprint grows far bigger.
First, ores must be mined from the earth, which means drilling and blasting holes in natural environments. The toll of mining cannot be overstated, but includes soil, water, and air pollution; erosion; deforestation and habitat destruction; and other ills. In nations and regions of the world where environmental regulations are slim to none, these impacts are even more devastating. In communities that must share their air and water with local mines, human health may be affected.
Breaking down and then smelting these ores requires oil and sulfuric acid, then electricity, coal, or natural gas. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions from single-use batteries can be traced back to iron and steel mills, particularly given that most steel is produced via coal power, a notorious greenhouse gas emitter. Smelting and refining add up to the third biggest emitter in the battery manufacturing process.
Most politically savvy people are familiar with "conflict diamonds," which rely on child labor, forced labor, and finance violent regimes. "Conflict mining" is also a serious concern of ours at Batteroo, along with displacement of homes and neighborhoods to make way for industrial mining projects. Several worldwide NGOs are dedicated to supporting communities affected by mining, and nearly every large human rights organization includes mining among its range of global concerns.
And all of these human and environmental costs are incurred before the actual assembly process, even before any raw materials are transported to the manufacturers, before any packaging, and before any finished batteries are shipped to the U.S. by ocean freight – more than 60 percent of batteries used in the U.S. come from Asia – or trucked to retail warehouses.
There's no way around it: all stages of battery production and distribution generate emissions and pollution. (To be fair, we also generate emissions making Batteroo sleeves, and even though we've taken steps to be as sustainable as possible, we have some growing to do before we can achieve carbon-neutral status.)
So while we often point fingers at consumption habits, and first-world lifestyles, when we talk about a more sustainable future we also need to think about what happens before we begin to consume, before we as individuals appear in the cycle.
This is not to let battery buyers off the hook, particularly since so few are recycled. A 2010 report estimated only six percent of single-use batteries are recycled in California.
There is clearly opportunity to do better. In fact that same report identified the biggest and best eco savings would come from "extending the useful life of single-use batteries, which has the effect of reducing overall annual purchases of batteries." We couldn't agree more.
Like you, Batteroo is committed to a greener future, and we're starting with a way to reduce people's consumption of batteries – and by extension reduce the number of batteries produced. Batteroo Boost can be used over and over again, extending the lifespan of every battery purchased and powering devices longer than ever before. By using Batteroo Boost, you're not only saving money, you're helping save the environment. More power to ya!
Batteroo Corporation is an innovator of intelligent voltage management and delivery systems. Its Batteroo is a sleeve that makes contact with the positive and negative ends of a common battery to access untapped remaining energy at a steady-state system voltage. Batteroo has been tested and proven to extend the life of disposable alkaline batteries on a variety of battery-operated home and office gadgets, saving consumers money and saving landfills from toxic battery waste that results in soil contamination and a laundry list of negative environmental impacts. The company was cofounded by Bob Roohparvar Ph.D., who holds more than 20 patents in his 30-year career in power management, semiconductors, and consumer products, and Frankie Roohparvar, who holds more than 500 patents. For more information visit www.Batteroo.com.
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