While most of our gadgets these days are outfitted with rechargeable batteries, we still use plenty of devices that require replaceable ones. Everyday things like smoke detectors, flashlights, remote controls and more have us racking up piles of spent batteries throughout the year.
In Norway, about 2,000 tons of batteries are used every year and while battery recycling is mandatory in that country, a recent survey estimated that as many as 26 percent of people still throw their used batteries in the garbage. We all know the environmental and health risks associated with e-waste that isn't disposed of properly and 500 tons of batteries heading to landfills every year is a scary though.
One of Norway's largest supermarket chains, Coop Norway, wanted to do something to ensure more batteries were safely recycled so it installed a type of reverse vending machine that collects used batteries at three of its locations.
The battery recycling machines are much like the bottle recycling machines in various places around the world. A customer places their spent batteries in the machine's depository and then the machine gives the customer store discounts based on how many batteries they returned. Currently the machine offers 1 krone ($ 0.12) for every returned battery.
The machine, made by Refind Technologies, a company that develops a variety of recycling sorting technologies, accepts all types of household batteries. Refind debuted the machine on Earth Day this year in a partnership with Energizer.
Coop Norway is still testing the machines to see how affective they are, but so far the three machines have collected 2,500 batteries in the three weeks they've been operational. Coop Norway is prepared to install the machines at all of its locations if Norway passes a law that requires vendors to accept used batteries.