Energizer has announced a new line of high-performance AA and AAA alkaline batteries that are in part made by recycling old cells, in what's claimed to be an industry first. Although currently only four percent of the battery comes from recovered materials, the plan for the company is to grow that percentage tenfold over the next 10 years and eventually use recycled materials in all its future cells.
Even though manganese, zinc and steel can be recovered from spent alkaline batteries, hardly any recycling company bothers with this because, for this type of cell, the process is just too expensive relative to its returns.
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Energizer says it has spent the past seven years researching ways of refining materials from old batteries into a high-performance active ingredient, and has now come up with an alkaline cell made with four percent (by weight) recycled material. Its new "EcoAdvanced" batteries are said to be the company’s highest performing alkaline batteries to date, and they will reportedly contribute seven percent fewer greenhouse emissions compared to other disposable batteries.
For the time being the batteries only include a very small percentage of recycled materials, mainly because very few recyclers currently process them. But now that the company has increased commercial demand for them, it predicts that, by 2025, as much as 40 percent of the battery will come from recycled cells.
It should be pointed out that, like most alkaline batteries, these are disposable and therefore still not nearly as eco-friendly as rechargeable batteries. However, Energizer thinks that at some point in the future all of its batteries will contain some recycled material (including, presumably, the rechargeable batteries), so this could serve as an important stepping stone.
You can watch a promotional video for the batteries below.