Is AA battery biodegradable? (3 ways to enhance battery life)

This article will shed light on the biodegradability of AA batteries. Other covered topics would include:

  • What is the biodegradability status of AA batteries?
  • Can AA batteries be recycled?
  • What are safe disposal options for AA batteries?
  • How do you make sure that the AA battery has run out?
  • FAQs

Is AA battery biodegradable?

AA batteries are not biodegradable as these batteries are made from synthetic and non-biodegradable materials. Such batteries may require around 400 years to degrade. 

Therefore, it is recommended that AA batteries must be recycled. This can be done by either transporting them to the nearest recycling centre or by throwing them in blue-coloured trash cans (meant for recycling waste). 

If AA batteries are not disposed of properly, they can cause soil and water pollution. The associated life will also be affected. 

There are many ways to ensure and boost the battery performance and life of AA batteries. One effective way is to use a batteriser that may enhance batteries’ longevity by more than 8 times. 

What is the biodegradability status of AA batteries?

To better understand the biodegradability status of AA batteries, it is essential to note the materials and substances used to make any particular product. 

The properties of the constituent materials will be reflected in the accumulated properties of the end product. For example, if a product is made from natural substances, it is more prone to be degraded by microbes in a readily fashion. 

However, this is not the case for AA batteries. The materials used to make AA batteries include: 

  • Steel
  • Plastic 
  • Paper
  • Zinc
  • Graphite
  • Potassium
  • Manganese 

As most of these materials are rather non-natural and synthesised in the labs, AA batteries are regarded as non-biodegradable.

Biodegradation may be introduced as the degradation that is brought about by bio. Bio means life. By life, microbes such as bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa are referred to. 

By definition, biodegradation is the breakdown of waste into simpler substances by the action of microbes so that waste may not accumulate and return back to nature’s system. 

However, not everything that is produced and used can be broken down by microbes. This is because microbes are living creatures that rely on only materials that they can use as food. 

Most of the synthetic materials are made from the derivatives of fossil fuels. These materials have no nutritional content and therefore, are not degraded by the microbes. Such materials are called non-biodegradable waste. 

Examples of this kind of waste include synthetic plastics, synthetic polymers, synthetic fibres et cetera. Such waste may remain in the environment for many hundred years. For example, PET may remain in landfills for more than 500 years. 

AA batteries are also an example of non-biodegradable waste. The next question that is usually inquired about is the time taken by the AA batteries to degrade. 

Non-biodegradable materials such as plastics take a lot of time to degrade. For example, plastics may require from twenty years to a thousand years. The issue is not just with the degradation time. 

Another problem that is rendered by non-biodegradable waste is the harmful impacts on the environment. This is mainly because most of the non-biodegradable materials are made from the derivatives of fossil fuels which are known to release harmful GHGs into the atmosphere. 

As regards AA batteries, they can take about 400 years to degrade in nature. This is mainly because microbes are unable to break down their structures into simpler structures. 

Can AA batteries be recycled?

Another question that is commonly asked is the recycling aspect of AA batteries. This is mainly because since AA batteries are non-biodegradable, recycling may perhaps be the best solution to deal with the issue of AA battery waste. 

This is mainly because recycling is regarded as one of the best solutions to deal with non-biodegradable waste. When non-biodegradable waste is recycled, its negative effects on the environment and life are delayed. 

AA batteries can be recycled either by transporting them to the nearest recycling centres or by scheduling a pick-up from the waste management authorities. 

As per the Environmental Protection Agency, it is safe to recycle AA batteries and this would not cause any great concern. However, this is not the case for all batteries. 

Some batteries such as lithium-ion batteries can not be put in trash cans. There are certain dangers of explosion or leaking of harmful materials that may contaminate the remaining waste as well. 

In this case, it is rather advisable to transport these batteries directly to the recycling centres. Either way, awareness from the users’ end is extremely important in making sure that batteries are recycled effectively and the benefits of recycling are achieved. Some of these benefits are:

  • Better waste management 
  • Better resource management
  • Improved employment opportunities
  • Decreased use of resources
  • Decreased GHG emissions and greenhouse effect
  • Economic benefits to the consumers and the producers
  • One of the best solutions to deal with non-biodegradable waste such as plastic or metal baking paper

Also, another factor that needs to be considered is that dustbins should be disposed of. We have already discussed that not all batteries can be put in the garbage cans. 

This is mainly because there is a possible risk of contamination of waste and explosion chances. However, as per the US EPA, it is safe to place AA batteries in trash cans. But the question is, which can?

As it stands out, there are three types of dustbins that are there. These are:

  • Green-coloured dustbins
  • Blue-coloured dustbins
  • Red-coloured dustbins 

We all know that red is the colour of danger. Red-coloured dustbins are reserved for hazardous waste such as chemical waste or waste from hospitals. You must certainly not use red-coloured dustbins to throw containers.  

Green dustbins are used for biodegradable waste whereas blue dustbins are used for non-biodegradable waste. 

Therefore, it is also imperative that AA batteries must be disposed of in blue coloured dustbins that are intended for recyclable waste. 

What are safe disposal options for AA batteries?

Battery waste is categorised as hazardous waste because it is electronic waste. Batteries may contain many harmful elements that can leach into the ground and cause ground and water pollution. 

As a result, water and land species are also greatly affected by the incorrect disposal of batteries. One question that needs to be addressed is how can you dispose of batteries to ensure that the environment and life are not put at any risk. 

The simplest answer is by making sure that the batteries are recycled. AA batteries can be recycled. Even the US EPA regarded AA batteries to be safe to dispose of in bins. When AA batteries are recycled, not only is there reduced consumption of energy and reduced waste. 

The environment is also saved from the detrimental impacts of AA batteries which can be quite exacerbated if the matter is dealt with non-seriously. 

For example, AA batteries are not taken to the recycling centres, but rather are disposed of in open dumps or a landfill. These batteries will eventually leak. The harmful chemicals will seep into the ground. 

These chemicals can then change the chemistry of the soil. This will impact the natural order and the other organisms will be affected. 

The negative effects of the leakage of chemicals from AA batteries will eventually be reciprocated in aquatic ecosystems where the water quality may degrade which may also result in negative impacts on aquatic species. 

How do you make sure that the battery is run out? (3 ways to enhance battery life)

One important question and consideration that needs to be factored in is how can one ensure that the batteries he is about to dispose of are of no functional value. 

This question is in line with the 3R approach that is so much treasured by environmentalists. The 3R philosophy preaches three practices: 

  • Reducing 
  • Reusing 
  • Recycling

Recycling is the last option and must be considered when the first two have been exhausted. First of all, it befalls each and every one of us to be vigilant and considerate of his consumption and use. We should not be exploitative in our uses because that is exactly what sustainability is. 

As per the principle of sustainability, one must use the present in a way that his future use is not affected in any way. 

This is the main idea of reducing. You may wonder if it is practical. Yes, it is very practical. This is exactly what is preached by the teachings and sermons of Environmental Psychology. 

As per the EP approach, one individual change can inspire others and therefore, small changes can add up to become significant changes. 

The next concept is the idea of reusing batteries. This is also applicable. If you have a battery and you think it has run out of its functional value, there are certain steps that can be taken by you to ensure that your assumption is true. These steps include: 

  • Removing the battery and then placing it again
  • Using batteries for less energy consumptive processes
  • Using a batteriser 

It is claimed that an average battery delivers about 1.5 volts of energy but a worn-out battery may deliver about 1.35 volts. This does not mean that the battery has become defunct. 

Such batteries may be used for tasks that may not require high amounts of energy. As per studies, an average person wastes about 80% of the juice which could be utilised otherwise. 

Also, there are various batterisers available that can enhance the longevity of batteries by more than 8 times. A batteriser is a very thin stainless steel circuit board that has the capacity to deliver the remaining 80% of the battery juice. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that AA batteries are not biodegradable as these batteries are made from synthetic and non-biodegradable materials. Such batteries may require around 400 years to degrade. 

Therefore, it is recommended that AA batteries must be recycled. This can be done by either transporting them to the nearest recycling centre or by throwing them in blue coloured trash cans (meant for recycling waste). 

If AA batteries are not disposed of properly, they can cause soil and water pollution. The associated life will also be affected. 

There are many ways to ensure and boost the battery performance and life of AA batteries. One effective way is to use a batteriser that may enhance batteries’ longevity by more than 8 times. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is AA battery biodegradable?

Can you compost AA batteries?

No, you can not compost AA batteries as these are neither biodegradable nor organic in nature. 

Can AA batteries be charged by sunlight?

Many people think that by placing AA batteries in sunlight, one can get some additional juice. However, this is not the case. In fact, AA batteries should not be taken to high temperatures as the chemicals inside may leak out. 

References

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