Special containers for used batteries across Lithuania2008-09-29
Favorable conditions have been created for the residents of Vilnius, Kaunas, Panevėžys, Raseiniai, Klaipėda, Plunge, Palanga and other municipalities to dispose of old galvanic batteries in special containers that used exclusively for such purpose. A total of 568 such containers are already placed in 20 towns and urban communities. Žalvaris, a waste management company and the winner of the open tender procedure of the Ministry of the Environment to collect and process galvanic elements (batteries) and accumulators used in household goods, has placed such containers in Iki and Senukai supermarkets, Statoil filling stations, schools, kindergardens, etc. Container locations can be found on the website of the Ministry of the Environment (http://www.am.lt/VI/index.php#a/7382).
The company should make available 90 additional containers until the end of the year. The young generation is especially motivated to participate in this project actively. Free theatre tickets are going to be given to those kindergardens that will collect the largest amount of used batteries by next spring. In addition, it is planned to publish colouring books, reflecting the importance of hazardous waste collection. Battery waste containers will be located in different public places. Under the Skalvija cinema initiative, old batteries can be exchanged into cinema tickets for special shows.
Within three months from the start of the project, financed by the Ministry of the Environment from the Production ar Packing Waste Management Program funds, Žalvaris has already collected over three tons of battery waste. The company expects to gather 25 tons of such waste within a year to meet their tender obligations. Since Lithuania does not have the facilities to process used batteries, they are transported to Poland.
Even though batteries used or kept at home do not represent a threat to the environment and human health, sooner or later they become toxic waste. If this waste is disposed of in al landfill or burned, metals, acids and other toxic materials contained in the batteries may polute lakes, rivers, soil, air or underground waters. Heavy metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium are considered especially dangerous. Once released into the environment, they accumulate in live organisms and provoke numerous health problems. Other metals used in battery production – zinc, copper, manganese, manganate, lithium and nickel – also build up in the environment and should not be disposed of in the same way as general household waste.
In the process of battery collection and reprocessing, precious metals, such as manganese, zinc, iron, lead and others can also be reused.
Public information department, tel. +370 5 266 3660
29 Sep 2008