It’s not that I don’t like the idea of electric cars, it does sound nice and having owned a golf cart in a town which allowed folks to drive them on the street, I enjoyed traveling down to the local Starbucks or grocery store on occasion. Still, something which has always bothered me, and something we often talk about in our think tank is what do you do with all the old batteries from all of the electric cars that people will be buying. That is if electric cars ever catch on, and there have been several false starts in decades past.
If you talk to someone who is an evangelical over the concept of the electric car they will tell you that the batteries can be recycled, rejuvenated, and continually reused. However nothing lasts forever, and to state that it might would be simply denying the laws of physics. The reality is that eventually these components will corrode, deteriorate, and decay. At that point they will be thrown out, and will not be available for recycle, and they will end up in landfills.
Still, there are so many people who deny this and say that we can continually recycle these batteries forever. Yes, that is a beautiful and wonderful concept, and it is the correct environmentally friendly answer to this very important question, unfortunately it is incorrect. Okay so let’s talk a little bit more about this and take it to a higher level shall we?
An interesting paper to read on this subject might be; “The ecological impact of batteries,” by Colleen Dillon of written way back in August of 1994 in fact. The abstracts states;
“There is still much that needs to be known about the specific problems that are presented to the ecosystem as a result of battery disposal in landfills. This report explores the various effects that the toxic metals in batteries (specifically mercury, cadmium, lead, nickel, zinc, and lithium) have on the entire ecosystem, detailing the damages that these metals may cause to the human body. The most predominant effects that these metals have on humans include neurological damage, kidney damage, birth defects, and cancer.”
Lots of questions, not many real answers – in fact for the most part we still don’t know the answers to these pertinent questions here. What I ask is that you come up with a real strategy, one which will work, and one which will prevent the batteries of the 15 to 17 million cars that we build in the United States each and every year, that is if we were to build only electric cars, from being thrown into our already over intoxicated landfills. Answer me that. Please consider all this and think on it.