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TitleBatteries from cradle to grave
Author(s)Smith, Michael John
Gray, Fiona M.
End-of-life treatment
Environmental chemistry
Problem-based learning
Public understanding learning
Issue date2010
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Abstract(s)As battery producers and vendors, legislators and the consumer population become more aware of the consequences of inappropriate disposal of a wide variety of battery types to landfill sites instead of responsible chemical neutralization and re-use, the topic of battery recycling has begun to appear as a priority on the environmental agenda. In the UK alone estimates of annual consumption are close to 300 million units and the domestic waste stream load is about 30,000 tonnes. The end-of-life treatment that batteries receive in different European community member states, America and Asia differs very significantly and the percentage of household cells recycled ranges from almost zero to a modest high of about 50% of annual sales. With current estimates of global per capita and per annum battery consumption of 330g, even this best-case figure leaves a massive residue of untreated battery waste to enter municipal landfill sites. In this paper the authors develop the topic of battery recycling as an introduction to a problem-based learning activity and present a summary of the key concepts useful to teachers or tutors adopting this approach. They identify the driving legislation, describe best collection strategies, outline methods of battery sorting and processing that are being successfully applied and provide entry points to useful sources of information for PBL projects in battery recycling. Supplementary documentation is provided in the form of template study topics for student research.
AccessRestricted access (UMinho)
Appears in Collections:CDQuim - Artigos (Papers)

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