On April 5 Environment Canada released the Canadian Consumer Battery Baseline Study, which, according to its news release, reveals that the annual number of consumer batteries discarded is increasing dramatically, releasing a growing amount of dangerous substances into our land and water. The study concludes that Canadians will throw away 495 million batteries per year by 2010, up from 347 million in 2004.
We are concerned that large amounts of products containing toxic substances are thrown out in our landfills every day, said the Honourable John Baird, Minister of the Environment. The results of this study will help Environment Canada challenge the battery industry to improve the recovery and recycling of batteries.
The study provides the first national estimates of the amount of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead that are potentially released into the environment through the disposal of batteries. It also suggests that the rate of recycling of rechargeable batteries, which contain toxic substances of concern, is very low.
As part of the Chemicals Management Plan launched last December 2006, Canadas new government is committed to reducing releases of chemical substances that pose a risk to human health and the environment.
Regulations or other measures to manage the risks associated with products containing toxic substances, including batteries which contain mercury, are also being considered. Environment Canada will continue to work with provinces and territories to share information and best practices to assist in their recycling and waste reduction efforts.
Canadians can get involved and recycle batteries such as those used in cellular phones, cordless power tools and laptop computers through many participating retailers and municipalities across Canada. For more information on this study and the recycling of batteries, please visit Environment Canadas website at:
or call the toll free line at 1-800-668-6767.