More than a billion batteries are consumed in Russia annually. On average, about seven per person, including babies and hermits who have refused the benefits of civilization.
If we take the most common AA battery as a basis in the calculations, then in a year such a number of used batteries can cover an area of 73.5 thousand square kilometers. This exceeds the territory of Ireland and is almost twice the area of the Moscow region.
Nowadays, three types of batteries are most widely used – salt, alkaline and lithium. In everyday life, lithium batteries are considered the safest. They do not contain active substances that can harm a person if such a battery is thrown into the trash bin. But all of them are marked with a sign prohibiting throwing them away with ordinary household waste. The reason is that lithium is highly flammable and has a high combustion temperature. A damaged lithium battery may self-ignite. A strong blow or even a banal foil from chocolate can become a catalyst for the spontaneous combustion process.
Alkaline batteries are next, they are familiar to everyone, they are labeled ALKALINE. If the battery leaks, the alkali in the battery may burn your skin. And the manganese dioxide included in such batteries is dangerous to humans.
And, finally, the most common batteries are saline. They include zinc, manganese dioxide, ammonium chloride and other substances that are not the most useful for humans. The main danger is the depressurization of the battery case, which often happens with salt batteries due to long loads.
Some batteries contain mercury. The danger to humans of this element is widely known. There are also nickel batteries. They are of different types, sometimes with some content of cadmium, which is not inferior to mercury in terms of the degree of harm to humans.
At the same time, used batteries pose the greatest danger when they have already left a person’s home. The risk is not limited to fire. From exposure to water, sun and air in an ordinary landfill, batteries are deformed and lose their tightness, contaminating soil and groundwater. One finger battery can contaminate 400 liters of water. This is comparable to the amount of water one person drinks in seven months.
In any large supermarket or large chain stores there are special containers for collecting used batteries. In small towns and rural areas, you can hand over used batteries to the local department of the Ministry of Emergencies or to a company that disposes of them. It’s not a fact that it will turn out to be easy, but it’s worth a try, at least in order not to complain about the bad environment later.