Battery disposal quandary inspires charged debate

Updated: 2016-01-26 08:08

By Zheng Jinran(China Daily)

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'Polluters pay' principle

Battery disposal quandary inspires charged debate

The recommended method of disposal in most European countries is to recycle spent alkaline batteries and reclaim the metals they contain. However, that's not practical in China because of limited funds and the narrow profit margins from recycling, according to Xu, the chief engineer, who has conducted industry research. He said alkaline-battery recycling would require large amounts of money.

The only profitable battery-recycling operations in China are those centered on lead-acid batteries, which are booming and attracting more people to the collection and recycling teams.

Wang Qi, of the Institute of Solid Waste Pollution Control Technology, and Jiang Jianguo, deputy head of the School of Environment at Tsinghua University, echoed Xu's opinion.

Jiang said the "polluters pay" principle should be introduced to make battery manufacturers responsible for paying for solutions, either recycling for metals or harmless processes to ensure safe dumping in landfill sites.

However, that approach is flawed, according to Qian, secretary-general of the industry association. "Providing the collection services would raise the financial burden for many producers, which would prompt them to refuse to do so," he said.

China's three major producers - Nanfu, Zhongyin (Ningbo) Battery and GP Battery - do not provide collection services and their batteries can be discarded with general household waste, according to the Beijing News.

Jiang said that local governments have limited powers, and no recycling services have yet been established so they have no option but to dump spent batteries in landfill sites. He agreed with Xu that while it's easy to formulate solutions, it's far more difficult to make them happen.

Battery disposal quandary inspires charged debate

Battery disposal quandary inspires charged debate


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