So, why is the UK so behind in adopting the best practices when powering our electronics?
Batteries can be found all around our homes, from inside TV remotes and children’s toys to power tools and handheld appliances. They are constantly buzzing in the background, but we don’t give them much thought until they run out, and we discard and replace them.
But do you know the impact that batteries have on the environment?
We want to help open your eyes to this genuine and present problem and let you know how seriously we take sustainability here at Cladding Mate.
The Curse of Single-Use Batteries
Before we go any further into the solution, we must fully understand the problem: single-use batteries.
The phrase single-use itself is one to evoke a shudder from the increasingly environmentally conscious Britain, so why do we turn a blind eye when it comes to batteries?
What is Battery Waste?
The term battery waste refers to the old batteries we discard that can not be recharged or used again. Every single-use battery falls under this category, from the ones you take out of your clock to larger industrial batteries.
There are three types of battery waste;
- Portable Batteries: Sealed batteries that are often carried around in our mobile phones and laptops, for example.
- Industrial Batteries: Used specifically for industrial requirements, such as to power forklift trucks and warehouse machinery.
- Automotive Batteries: Found in cars, vans and other vehicles to power lights, start engines, etc.
Now that you understand battery waste, let's dive deep into its environmental impact.
How are Batteries Recycled?
Did you know that we throw out a staggering 600 million batteries annually in the UK? If that's not shocking enough, what if we tell you that we use 150,000 tonnes of batteries annually?
These are huge numbers that can be hard to comprehend; after all, where do they go? Well, we can tell you that only around 17,000 tonnes of the batteries we use each year actually get recycled in the proper process.
This shockingly low number may be caused by various reasons, from people being unaware of how batteries should be recycled to not being conveniently located near an appropriate collection bin.
Many people in the UK simply do not know how battery recycling works, so allow us to give you a rundown.
Firstly, it’s important to note that recycling batteries do not mean throwing them in with your plastics and paper. They must be collected in specific battery recycling units, usually conveniently positioned in retail units by various battery recycling schemes.
The batteries are then taken away, sorted into categories and recycled to salvage as many materials that can be recovered to make new products.
So, what happens to the other 133,000 tonnes of batteries that are not recycled each year?
What Happens if Batteries are Not Recycled Properly?
When batteries are not recycled, they end up in the growing UK landfill. This is unsurprising when reading data such as those pulled together by Business Waste, which found that only 20% of Britons are familiar with local recycling schemes, and only 4% of that number have recycled their batteries more than once.
The batteries that end up in landfills contribute to air and water pollution. They sit and corrode in landfills over time. Their chemicals leak and soak into the soil, contaminating groundwater and surface water. These chemicals fill our oceans and wreak havoc on aquatic life as they are forced to live in chemical-laden water. Not forgetting, we might be ingesting water filled with metals and toxins when drinking from the tap at home.
Batteries in landfills are also very unstable and can actually cause fires that smoulder for years. These chemicals are released into the air and have an impact on our breathing as well as global warming.
This all sounds pretty scary and actually infuriating now you know how easy it is to recycle your batteries. Luckily, recycling them is not the only option.
The UK is More Environmentally Conscious than Ever
Demand for environmentally friendly products is at an all-time high as the nation’s concerns for sustainability increase. In fact, in the UK, a recent survey showed that 92% of people take sustainability into their purchase considerations.
It also highlighted that consumers were making more sustainable decisions regarding products in recyclable packaging and minimising the number of new products they buy. Hence the earlier fear we mentioned for the term single-use!
Today, consumers favour purchases they reuse more than once, such as reusable coffee cups that eliminate the need for disposable cups. This is where rechargeable batteries come in.
The Rise of Rechargeable Batteries
In an ideal world, single-use batteries will eventually be entirely phased out by rechargeable batteries. They are already growing in production popularity to keep up with growing consumer demand. Still, drawbacks for the product are put in place by devices unable to support rechargeable battery usage.
The solution to this problem is for product designers to encompass the growing rechargeable battery demand and create products that support these power methods. This is something we champion at Cladding Mate.
In a nutshell, the benefits of rechargeable batteries are;
Arguably, the biggest benefit of rechargeable batteries is that they are environmentally friendly, which we have established is both a global priority and a consumer focus. They allow us to reduce our carbon footprint by minimising the number of batteries in landfills. Rechargeable batteries mean fewer resources are required to manufacture many single-use batteries. Thus less energy is used to improve an environmentally friendly manufacturing process.
We cannot deny that rechargeable batteries may cost you more at the first initial purchase than a pack of single-use batteries might, but the purchase is an investment. In the long run, you will save money with your rechargeable battery purchase, eliminating the need to keep buying replacement batteries.
Single-use batteries are inconvenient and will run out of charge at the most inopportune times. Whether you have simply forgotten to buy replacement batteries in the first place or have been sitting in a drawer for so long, you’re unsure if they’re safe to use. Batteries are often an afterthought; when we are left without the power they provide, it can be an added chore.
Batteries running out of charge are also a huge health and safety risk in the trade industry. This is why we are proud to offer a solution at Cladding Mate.
Sustainability at Cladding Mate
At Cladding Mate, we are committed to becoming a more sustainable company in everything we do. That starts with our product selection that helps our customers with an easier, more environmentally friendly way of working.
Introducing the Cordless Alliance System (CAS), which provides a seamless tool kit that utilises interchangeable and rechargeable batteries. But what does that mean?
All products in the CAS line come from various electric power tool brands committed to using matching batteries. This convenient system reduces the number of wires you need to carry around, as every tool in the CAS range uses the same power system.
Single-use batteries are entirely unnecessary with the CAS system, so you are making work seamless and easy, improving your company's sustainability, and saving money. By reducing the toxic rubbish your trade creates, you can reach a new customer base that shares the same ideals and goals in environmental consciousness.
The CAS battery enables tradespeople to become independent from the power socket and take more control of their safety, schedule and efficiency.
We know better than anyone how exhausting it can be juggling multiple different batteries when you’re high on a ladder or on top of a roof. The CAS system eliminates those problems and makes getting the job done simpler and safer.
Find more information on the Cordless Alliance System online to learn if this is the suitable tool system range to move your team forward in sustainability, efficiency and safety. Don’t hesitate to contact our team for more expert advice and information on the CAS product range today, and find the answers to your questions.