Environmental impact of emerging contaminants from battery waste: a mini review

Elsevier, Case Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Volume 3, June 2021, 100104
Elda M. Melchor-Martínez, Rodrigo Macias-Garbett, Alonso Malacara-Becerra, Hafiz M.N. Iqbal, Juan Eduardo Sosa-Hernández and Roberto Parra-Saldívar

The widespread consumption of electronic devices has made spent batteries an ongoing economic and ecological concern with a compound annual growth rate of up to 8% during 2018, and expected to reach between 18% and 30% to 2030. There is a lack of regulations for the proper storage and management of waste streams that enables their accumulation in open settings and the leakage of hazardous substances into the environment on landfill settings. In addition, recent trends in battery manufacture dictate the use of emerging materials like ionic liquids for electrolytes and nanostructures for cathodes to enhance their energetic properties and lifespan. The full impact of novel battery compounds on the environment is still uncertain and could cause further hindrances in recycling and containment efforts. Currently, only a handful of countries are able to recycle mass-produced lithium batteries, accounting for only 5% of the total waste of the total more than 345,000 tons in 2018. This mini review aims to integrate currently reported and emerging contaminants present on batteries, their potential environmental impact, and current strategies for their detection as evidence for policy and regulation.