Don’t throw away old batteries, feed them to your plants instead

By: Rosie Frost

Around 97 per cent of alkaline batteries in Australia are not recycled, these are the kind we put in television remotes, children’s toys and torches. Instead, they end up in ordinary rubbish bins where disposal methods mean the chemicals that provide us with portable power can leak into the soil, causing pollution.

Over in Europe, it’s a different story. Legislation requires shops that sell batteries to ask customers to return them once they run out of juice. This means the percentage being recycled is significantly higher, in comparison to Australia.

For the batteries that are recycled, most power plants use extreme heat to melt down the metals inside them to be used again. But there’s one problem, everything else is burnt off, leaving other elements, which have been mined from natural sources, unused where they could be being repurposed elsewhere.

Envirostream wants to do things a bit differently. Part of Lithium Australia, which recycles all kinds of batteries, it is taking these other ingredients and turning them into something with the power to help plants grow.

A similar process has already been employed by Finnish company, Tracegrow, who turn used alkaline batteries into products that enrich soils for growing food crops. It is part of a circular economy plan that aims to minimize the exploitation of the planet’s natural resources by using them for as long as possible.