more battery recycle waste/recovery

Dave_H

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Here is a bag of recycle cells snagged from store recycle box at the exit. Staff were asked and didn't mind.

Of the total weight 1.36kg, very weak or dead cells weighed 0.34kg (25%). Four premium Duracell D cells (0.54kg, 40%) were sitting at 1.51v OC, barely used. Remaining 0.48kg (35%) ranged from marginally-useful (to me) to barely-used AA, AAA, Zinc-Carbon and 9v.

Dave

alkaline_recycle_GT_bag.JPG
 

IMA SOL MAN

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Here is a bag of recycle cells snagged from store recycle box at the exit. Staff were asked and didn't mind.

Of the total weight 1.36kg, very weak or dead cells weighed 0.34kg (25%). Four premium Duracell D cells (0.54kg, 40%) were sitting at 1.51v OC, barely used. Remaining 0.48kg (35%) ranged from marginally-useful (to me) to barely-used AA, AAA, Zinc-Carbon and 9v.

Dave

View attachment 53562
Good for you! :)(y)

We live in a throwaway society. It is amazing. Some people throw away even perfectly good leftover food, that they could save for another meal, but I guess they are too lazy. Evidently, and lucky for you, there are some people that don't want to be bothered with checking the state of charge of their batteries, and simply chuck them in the recycle bin. The waste is shameful.

My parents both grew up during the Great Depression, on farms in rural Kansas. They learned the value of things, and their families saved everything that could be recycled into something else, and they got pretty good at that. They didn't need recycling centers, their scrap piles and barns worked for that. Sad we have so many city dwellers with no room for scrap, and no imagination or ability how to recycle their trash into useful things. Of course, I'm painting urbanites with a really broad brush, I'm sure some are clever critters, and reuse their trash items wisely.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s when the environmental movement was kicking into high gear, and littering and pollution was being targeted. Who can forget the PSA with Iron Eyes Cody crying over the littering?



I just don't see the effort these days, that I saw back then, but maybe it is there, I just don't see it. Seems to me like folks care less these days than we did back then.
 

jtr1962

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Some people throw away even perfectly good leftover food, that they could save for another meal, but I guess they are too lazy.
One of my former neighbors did this all the time. One day she had my mother and others over for lunch. She cooked a bunch of jumbo shrimp. She had a good amount left over. She just threw them out. If my mother had known she was going to do that, she would have asked to take them home.

I never throw edible food away. I grew up poor so I know the value of money.
My parents both grew up during the Great Depression, on farms in rural Kansas. They learned the value of things, and their families saved everything that could be recycled into something else, and they got pretty good at that. They didn't need recycling centers, their scrap piles and barns worked for that. Sad we have so many city dwellers with no room for scrap, and no imagination or ability how to recycle their trash into useful things. Of course, I'm painting urbanites with a really broad brush, I'm sure some are clever critters, and reuse their trash items wisely.
Same thing with my grandparents. They passed on what they learned during the Great Depression to my parents, who in turn passed it down to us.

This city dweller isn't too proud to take stuff from dumpsters or the curb. Before I started working, my bikes got fixed with parts I got from throwaways. For a long time I upgraded my computers the same way. Even though I'm better off financially now if I find something by the curb I can use I take it.
I grew up in the 60s and 70s when the environmental movement was kicking into high gear, and littering and pollution was being targeted. Who can forget the PSA with Iron Eyes Cody crying over the littering?



I just don't see the effort these days, that I saw back then, but maybe it is there, I just don't see it. Seems to me like folks care less these days than we did back then.

A good start would be making less waste to begin with. I'm glad the right-to-repair movement is taking hold. So many broken things can easily be fixed and given to those who need them. We also should focus on less packaging waste. And people don't need to upgrade their i-phones every year. I generally only buy new when the old one no longer works.
 

Dave_H

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In over 15 years I have not seen or met one person locally who also does recovery. A few others on this site mentioned running cells down by various means, but not collecting externally (that I recall).

Alkalines predominate, but NiCd/NiMH cells show up sometimes, I may selectively snag them due to likely higher re-use value. Many require a "dumb" charger, and they go into low/moderate drain devices. Best to find them in "matched" sets where possible (brand, type, capacity, condition) but single cells have some use paired with similar others, or in 1-cell solar garden lighting etc.


Dave
 

IMA SOL MAN

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A university professor and fellow ham radio operator friend of mine used to get batteries from a hospital, I think out of their medical devices. Someone on CPF mentioned getting batteries from a church that changed microphone batteries after every day of service. Then there are those that scavenge batteries from laptop PCs. I guess there are sources out there, you just have to use your imagination, and look around you, and not be afraid to ask folks for their discarded batteries.
 

Dave_H

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I guess that's the point, people must be concerned about looking foolish i.e. "garbage picking". There's a small fortune in there for the taking, (alkaleak haters aside) though I would much prefer seeing a lot less wastage, for whatever reasons.

Yesterday the public library recycle "tube" was only up to about 6" full, but recovered six D cells. These were sitting at 1.0-1.15v which indicates good rundown. I can still use them in 3D/4D lanterns which can run on low setting at reduced brightness, for days to weeks overnight as nightlights. Once down to around 0.8v they are placed in 2D holder connected to a solar light designed to run on one cell, as another nightlight. After that, they are really dead!

Hospitals often (or always) have a rule about limited usage of cells before discarding, and usually still mostly good. I'd like to have access to their stash...on second thought I have more than enough.


Dave
 

IMA SOL MAN

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I guess that's the point, people must be concerned about looking foolish i.e. "garbage picking". There's a small fortune in there for the taking, (alkaleak haters aside) though I would much prefer seeing a lot less wastage, for whatever reasons.

Yesterday the public library recycle "tube" was only up to about 6" full, but recovered six D cells. These were sitting at 1.0-1.15v which indicates good rundown. I can still use them in 3D/4D lanterns which can run on low setting at reduced brightness, for days to weeks overnight as nightlights. Once down to around 0.8v they are placed in 2D holder connected to a solar light designed to run on one cell, as another nightlight. After that, they are really dead!

Hospitals often (or always) have a rule about limited usage of cells before discarding, and usually still mostly good. I'd like to have access to their stash...on second thought I have more than enough.


Dave
Yeah, one can overdo the salvage stuff. My better half and my Kid are a little put out about my salvaging, I think. I like to save the Folgers coffee containers, you know, the big red plastic containers, to store stuff in, pot plants, etc. Sometimes other good containers, too. Got too many sitting around, taking up space, waiting for me to do something with. I have plans, but, I procrastinate. But the ladies have no problem saving leftovers in Cool Whip bowls, so maybe they should hold their tongues? ;):grin2:
 
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Dave_H

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Saturday I snagged 12 alkaline C cells: one dead, one barely used, others split between 1.22v and 1.38v OC which are all usable. 4C LED lantern runs them down to 1v/cell and below, less than full brightness but long runtime. An older 2C string of red LEDs runs cells down to 1v thanks to the low vf of real red, not the tinted or PC ones used increasingly. Other than that I can use these in a couple of 2C flashlights, one inherently LED and other incan converted using Dorcy 1-2 cell flange-base LED bulb.

Dave
 

PCC

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My team was responsible for maintaining environmental temperature sensors in our buildings a few years ago. That's been given to another team, now, but, when we were doing it I noticed that one of the two AA size 3V lithium primaries would be completely flat while the second seemed to have full voltage. Since we were not allowed to mix old and new cells we had to toss them. I was collecting the good cells and have a bag of about 40 cells that I've been slowly burning though over the years. At one point we were using smaller sensors that used 1/2 AA 3V lithium cells but those only used one cell and they were almost always fully depleted when we replaced them. I grabbed a few new ones when we switched to the larger sensors that take two AA size cells.

Last night I dismantled the original battery that came with my Black and Decker cordless drill. That battery pack stopped charging so I ordered replacements for it. After dismantling the pack I found all three 18650 cells to be at 3.5-ish volts so I threw them on the charger and now they're in lights.
 

Dave_H

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Here is my present collection of Lithium AA (and a few AAA) recovered from recycle, over time.

To be sure, many are in the range 1.60-1.70+ volts open-circuit, with capacity substantially lower than new; but several at 1.8v which are essentially unused. Price of these new has gone way up recently. These get used selectively in low-drain devices, and where leakage is a concern.

Too bad there are so few AAA's, they are good for remotes.

Dave

AA_AAA_Lithium_recovered.JPG
 

Dave_H

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In a handful of cells grabbed yesterday, I found one AA Lithium measuring 1.80v, looks like new. Too bad, digging deeper might have yielded more. Cells from a "new" pack purchased over 15 years ago (expiry 2025) measure 1.83v .

With people's finances, the overall economic situation, and high cost of these cells, you have to wonder why.


Dave
 

letschat7

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This reminds me I need to send off my used cells for proper disposal in January. Where is the best place to send a variety of batteries? I have everything but mercury cells.
 

Dave_H

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This reminds me I need to send off my used cells for proper disposal in January. Where is the best place to send a variety of batteries? I have everything but mercury cells.
As we are in different locations, different countries I can't say specifically.

Check Home Depot and similar big-boxes, here they take alkalines and Zinc-carbon. Ikea here takes Li-ion, some others should also.

Public libraries may take ordinary cells (they do here, also some other government buildings open to the public). Some community centres may also take them.

I also see non-cell items thrown in; they recommend not doing that. Interesting item I fished out is an ac/dc input USB Lithium power pack, contains one 21700 cell and seems to work fine.


Dave
 

Dave_H

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Trip to a Home Depot yielded 4 D alkalines in good shape, plus 6v alkaline lantern battery, from their dropoff. I could have taken a couple of small boxes full of cells but this was enough. I always ask, and explain what I do. Nobody seems to mind, some are mildly interested. Just don't make a mess.

Lantern battery measured around 4.5v, perfectly good to run a small LED desk lamp which takes this voltage. I usually open it up at end of life to check cells, sometimes only one or two cells are gone and the others still usable.

At another store, a 2.7kg (6 lb.) bag full of mostly zinc-carbons was snagged. Many people would not bother. Zn-C is still useful, lighter and when it (rarely) leaks is much less traumatic than alkaline.

My conclusion so far is the consumer primary battery industry wastes more product than is actually used up, due to the users themselves and the industry which keeps on producing and doesn't seem to mind.

Dave
 

jtr1962

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My conclusion so far is the consumer primary battery industry wastes more product than is actually used up, due to the users themselves and the industry which keeps on producing and doesn't seem to mind.
I'm continually amazed we're even still producing primary batteries at this point. Eneloops addressed every single disadvantage of rechargeables. They should be the go-to cell now for anything which doesn't have built-in li-ion batteries. Sad that in the end profits win over common sense. Primary batteries aren't even cheap any more. It used to be that rechargeables cost 10x as much or more. Now it's closer to 2 or 3 times. Why hasn't there been a PSA to educate more people about rechargeables, along with a phase-out of primaries? It's not like primaries are so great for the end user. Alkalines have a tendency to destroy devices, plus using them in any high-drain device costs a small fortune. I remember my former brother-in-law's sister's family was spending like $30 a week at one time on batteries for their kid's toys. Big waste of both money and resources.
 

letschat7

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I use alkaline, lithium, lithium ion, nicad, nimh, carbon zinc, and proprietary type batteries. Every cell has a good use.

In a Maratac AA penlight I was running some Fujitsu whites and it didn't have good runtime so I tried some Energizer lithiums and that solves that issue. If a LSD NIMH has less life than a alkaline, runs at 1.2 when an alkaline is 1.5, and a lithium is 1.7v and is equal to 7-8 alkalines it makes a lot of sense. Sure it costs more but I don't mind because I work a 2nd job that pays for my light hobby.
 

jtr1962

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If a LSD NIMH has less life than a alkaline, runs at 1.2 when an alkaline is 1.5, and a lithium is 1.7v and is equal to 7-8 alkalines it makes a lot of sense. Sure it costs more but I don't mind because I work a 2nd job that pays for my light hobby.
That's actually a common misconception about alkalines. They start at around 1.58V, but over their full discharge curve average around 1.2V, same as NiMH. NiMH simply has a much flatter discharge curve. It stays in the 1.2V to 1.3V band for most of its life. Problem is many devices give low battery indicators when the cells get much under 1.5V, even though there's plenty of life left. Either the engineers make the same mistake assuming alkalines are 1.5V, or they intentionally design so people throw away batteries with 80% of the life left in them. Bottom line-if a device needs alkalines to work properly, it's likely using only a fraction of their capacity. Dave_H's forays into recycling alkalines more or less confirm this.

Lithium primaries offer significant voltage and capacity advantages over both alkaline and NiMH, but cost quite a bit. If you're really getting 7 or 8 times the life from a lithium primary, as opposed at an alkaline, then the device isn't designed properly. A lithium primary has maybe 1.5 times the energy of an alkaline. Granted, with high load devices the lithium might give you 3 or 4 times the run-time, but alkalines are a really bad choice for such devices anyway. NiMH or lithium primary are best for devices which heavily load a battery.
 

Dave_H

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At another store, a 2.7kg (6 lb.) bag full of mostly zinc-carbons was snagged. Many people would not bother. Zn-C is still useful, lighter and when it (rarely) leaks is much less traumatic than alkaline.

Dave
Also in the bottom of this bag were about five dozen button cells, mostly LR44's. A small number were dead, about three dozen were somewhat good (which I can run down in some devices), and 15 were in 90-100% good condition.

Dave


GT_ZnC_6lb_bag_recovered.JPG
 
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Dave_H

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Here is a bag of ten 9v batteries, all read 8.5v to 9.4v no-load so 90+% good; plus some other cells including unused CR2016/32s. What are people using them in, and thinking when they toss these (especially brand-name at current prices)? My DMMs will be happy for years.

Dave

9V_batteries_recovered_bag.JPG
 

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