Lithium Australia and Envirostream recycle batteries into fertiliser for farms

An Australian recycling company is recycling old batteries and turning them into fertiliser for crops, in an effort to stop them from ending up in landfill.

Envirostream, part of Lithium Australia, recycles all kinds of batteries, taking their active components of the spent cells and turning them into something with the power to boost fertiliser and help plants grow.

“Globally, the disposal of alkaline batteries has become a major problem,” said Adrian Griffin, managing director of Lithium Australia, in a press release. “Our plan is not only a significant step towards worldwide environmental management of the issue but could also have a powerful influence on the sustainability of disposable batteries.”

The batteries are first crushed, then filtration and purification processes remove toxic elements like mercury and nickel. Trace elements are purified and put safely back into nature as fertiliser and other products for farming. Zinc for example, which is present in many alkaline batteries, helps plants produce chlorophyll.

97% of alkaline batteries in Australia are not recycled, the type used in remotes, kids toys and torches. And those that are, are melted down with extreme heat to be used again, destroying the micro-nutrients in the process.

A similar company in Finland, Tracegrow, has had some success with such battery-powered (see what we did there?) fertiliser on tomatoes, cotton and avocados with good results.