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Battery Recycling

[ 7 ] May 31, 2013 |

As I’ve said before, the recycling business can be pretty nasty. We say something is “recycled,” which really means “I think I did something good and now I don’t have to pay attention to my role in the consumer chain.” But the reality is that once we put stuff in those nice green bins that our sanitation workers pick up or put an old phone in a box or I dispose of a car battery in way we are told is responsible, anything can happen and often does. Here’s a good piece on the problems with battery recycling and lead contamination, in the United States and around the world.

Given the very real effects of lead contamination on populations, exposing the impoverished people near these sites to lead could even lead to a higher chance of children becoming criminals.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Tod Westlake says:

    With the Prison Industrial Complex needing a constant supply of new “product,” this is a feature not a bug.

  2. Given the very real effects of lead contamination on populations, exposing the impoverished people near these sites to lead could even lead to a higher chance of children becoming criminals.

    Who cares? They chose the trade-offs they made.

    /Matt Yglesias

  3. But the reality is that once we put stuff in those nice green bins…

    Mine are blue, so clearly I’m doing everything I can.

  4. Manju says:

    So much $$$ has been pumped into developing new battery technology that I can’t imagine lead-acid being around too much longer.

    But who knows? Battery tech has proven to be quite elusive. The EV was supposed to be viable enough to take over by now. But the battery has held it back.

    nonetheless, I wouldn’t bet against cleantech…in the long run (apologies for being so heteronormative).

  5. Timb says:

    Most of this article deals with small time “recycling” from 3rd world countries and it says very little about what goes on in this country. Should I throw my battery in the backyard rather than recycle it in my First world country?

    • The Wrath of Oliver Kahn says:

      But can we be sure that the batteries we recycle in our first-world country don’t find their way to the third world for processing?

      Serious question.

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