Energizer has introduced a battery made from old batteries

The “Ecoadvanced” battery has only 4% recycled material now, but will rise to 40% within a decade

 
Screenshot of the Energizer Ecoadvanced recycled battery
(Energizer)

Energizer announced a big breakthrough on Tuesday with word that some of its new batteries will now contain bits of its old batteries.

The EcoAdvanced advanced AA batteries will contain 4 per cent recycled materials – but that’s just the beginning. The company plans to ramp that up to 40 per cent by 2025.

It’s a major achievement that took researchers seven years to crack, Energizer said. As per the press release:

Energizer scientists created an innovative, proprietary approach that refines and transforms recycled battery material into a high-performance active ingredient. This active ingredient is used in conjunction with energy rings to produce a long-lasting battery that has less impact on the planet. It requires less mining of virgin material to be used in the manufacturing process and reduces the amount of batteries consumers need to power their devices, which results in less waste.

“Today there is a bottleneck” since recyclers aren’t yet used to the process, a spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. “Because we have created economic value for this output, that is going to enable more processing to come online.”

The move toward more environmentally friendly batteries is a good one considering the huge growth in usage around the world. The U.S. market alone has been growing by about 5 per cent a year, never mind the demand explosion in countries such as China.

In the U.S., about 70 per cent of those batteries are of the disposable alkaline kind. That’s a huge amount of waste.

While it’s a welcome development, I’m not sure why anyone still uses disposable batteries in the first place when rechargeable alternatives are inexpensive and widely available.

Moreover, rechargeable AA batteries can last two to four years, making them considerably less expensive to use over the long run.

According to the company, however, disposable batteries are more practical for “low-drain” devices such as wall clocks while rechargeables are better for faster-drain cases, such as toys.

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