Why do we separate car batteries

Disposing of batteries: what you should keep in mind

Whether for remote control, alarm clock or camera: device batteries accompany our everyday life. But how long can you store the energy storage and where do you dispose of it? Here are the answers.

Empty batteries for electrical devices, so-called old batteries, often still end up in the household waste. It is even worse when they are simply disposed of in nature. That is why the return and recycling of old batteries is clearly regulated in Germany. Read the most important questions and answers about disposing of batteries here.

What batteries are there?

Batteries are not (or only to a very limited extent) rechargeable stores for electrical energy. According to the Battery Act, a distinction is made between device batteries, vehicle batteries (also: starter batteries) and industrial batteries.

Where can I dispose of empty batteries?

Empty batteries, so-called old batteries, for electrical devices can be handed in free of charge in the collection boxes provided in drug stores, supermarkets and electrical stores or at the polluting vehicles and recycling centers of the municipalities. They are then sorted in the recycling facilities and separated into their individual components so that they can be optimally recycled.

Dispose of batteries: They can be returned to collection boxes free of charge. (Source: Panthermedia / imago images)

What happens to batteries in the residual waste?

If the batteries are disposed of in the residual waste and later incinerated in the waste incineration plant, toxic pollutants, including mercury, cadmium and lead, can be released into the air. In addition, valuable raw materials such as aluminum, lithium and silver are lost when they are recycled.

How harmful is it to health?

If the heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium contained in batteries enter the human body via the food chain, this can have serious health consequences:

  • Mercury is highly toxic and, if exposed to high and long-term exposure, leads to impairment of the nervous, immune and reproductive systems.
  • Cadmium compounds can cause kidney damage and are suspected of being carcinogenic if inhaled.
  • In addition to organs, lead can also damage the central nervous system.

How do you dispose of leaked batteries?

If batteries are damaged, they can leak. The leaked liquid is usually the so-called electrolyte. It is used for the chemical reaction and ensures that the electrically charged particles (ions) are transported in batteries. If it leaks out as acid or lye, it crystallizes out.

Leaked batteries: It is best to dispose of them from the remote control with gloves. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

Therefore, it is best to remove the leaked battery and its residues with gloves. If some of the liquid gets on your hands, they should be washed thoroughly.

Our tip
Hand in leaked batteries as quickly as possible and only protected by an additional cover at collection points.

How can you prevent leakage?

Remove the batteries from devices that are not going to be used for a long time. This is how you prevent any damage. Batteries that are damaged, deformed or leaked should generally no longer be used.

Do batteries have an expiration date?

Yes, this is the warranty date for the specified voltage. It's on the battery packaging. If this date has expired, however, the battery may still be usable, says the Federal Environment Agency.

Our tip
Even if device batteries have a shelf life of up to ten years or more, it is best to use older, unused batteries first.

What is the best way to store batteries?

It is advisable to store batteries in a cool and above all dry place - but not in the refrigerator, because strong temperature fluctuations can have a negative effect on the energy storage.

Battery or rechargeable battery: what's the difference?

Batteries, also called primary batteries or disposable batteries, cannot be recharged. They deliver primary or secondary electricity. This type of energy supplier mainly includes zinc-carbon and alkaline-manganese batteries. In contrast, batteries are rechargeable energy sources such as lead, nickel, cadmium or lithium-ion batteries. They provide secondary electricity.

There is also a difference in the composition of the energy sources. Primary batteries consist of individual primary cells. Some of them deliver up to 1.5 volts. Batteries consist of secondary cells that deliver up to 1.2 volts. For this reason, certain devices can only be operated with batteries and not with rechargeable batteries.

How sustainable are batteries?

It is best for the environment and your wallet to use rechargeable batteries. Because: The more often batteries are recharged, the greater the saving effect for the environment compared to non-rechargeable batteries. When used correctly, battery manufacturers promise around 500 to 1,000 possible new charges. Correct charging and storage can in some cases even double the service life of a battery.

more on the subject

  • Subjects:
  • Environment and society,
  • Consumer protection,
  • Lead,
  • Poisoning,
  • Aluminum,
  • Lithium,
  • Carbon dioxide,
  • Sustainability,
  • Battery,
  • Cadmium,
  • Environment,
  • Recycling,
  • Toxins,
  • battery pack