How the EPA’s Plan for Battery Recycling Could Change the Future

Mar 14, 2023

It’s no secret that fossil fuels are not a sustainable resource. Research and experience have shown that in addition to being a finite resource, fossil fuels are extremely harmful to the planet. Fortunately, brilliant minds in a variety of industries around the world have been developing alternative technologies designed to curb reliance on these outmoded fuel sources.

Along with harming the environment, these fuel sources have made the United States more reliant on fuel from other nations. By switching to electrified technologies, the country can cultivate a more sustainable future with a more robust national security framework.

Battery Recycling Is Imperative to a Sustainable Future

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done. One of the most pressing issues preventing the full realization of this future is the vast number of batteries that need to be recycled.

Currently, millions of batteries are sitting in landfills beneath heaps of trash. These batteries contain essential minerals that could be recycled and used to make new batteries. Instead, humanity will need to mine for more minerals.

The Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Bill Has Helped Pave the Way for Change

On the bright side, the Biden Administration passed a historic infrastructure bill that set the United States on a path toward complete battery recycling compliance. This $375 million infrastructure initiative started several new programs for waste prevention and recycling. This is particularly advantageous when it comes to battery recycling.

Batteries contain a variety of elements, including:

  • Lithium-ion
  • Alkaline
  • Nickel-cadmium
  • Sealed lead acid

In addition to containing different elements, batteries come in all shapes and sizes. These varying properties can make recycling a hassle, as there’s no solidified approach that can be applied to every type of battery.

To find a solution, the EPA requested public commentary and will supply a progress report to congress within the next year. Already, industry experts are weighing in on what can be done to optimize the process. Here are some of the suggestions that have been put forth.

Create a Method for Mass Battery Recycling

The influx of electric vehicles has resulted in the large-scale production of massive batteries. As humanity transitions toward electric technologies, the need for large-scale battery recycling becomes evident.

Unfortunately, at the current moment, the battery recycling infrastructure in the United States is in dire need of improvement. One of the things the EPA could focus on is finding ways to facilitate infrastructure development so batteries of all shapes and sizes can be conveniently and safely recycled.

Initiate National Standards for Labeling

The Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act was signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. Since then, the United States has not seen any significant battery recycling legislation. However, there are more batteries in use than ever. When it comes time to recycle these batteries, there needs to be a blanket standard for labeling and recycling them.

Some of the proposals in this area center on clear labeling instructions and the inclusion of a toll-free number people can call to find a drop-off location in their vicinity.

Need to Recycle Your Electronics?

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