What you need to know about the expiration date

  • very low recycling rate
  • Battery power is expensive
  • Note the expiration date
  • Correct disposal tips
  • Advantages rechargeable batteries clear

From flashlights and cameras to smoke detectors: many devices contain rechargeable batteries and batteries. They are expensive and cause serious environmental problems if improperly disposed of.

Recycle rate too low

More and more devices require mobile power distributors. In Germany alone, the consumption of device batteries or finger batteries in 2020 65,368 extra tons. Compared to the previous year, this is an increase of 9,463 tons, or 16.9 percent.

The rules for battery disposal are found in the Battery Act (BattG). However, outdated batteries (rechargeable) and batteries (Not Rechargeable) Don’t carelessly end up in the trash, Commerce is obligated to take it back for free: no matter what type, whether it’s a battery block, a button or a round cell – “back after use” always applies.

In fact, this has been the case so far for less than half of all old batteries. Only 45.6 percent of unused small power plants returned in 2020. In 2019 it was 52.2 percent. Germany has thus just passed the EU-wide collection target of 45 per cent. It is very clear: Too many used batteries have not been properly recycled or disposed of.

Criticism of German environmental aid

So German Environmental Aid (DUH) sees its criticism as confirming that BattG does not solve the central problems: More and more batteries with decreasing assembly sizes.

Samples from DUH and NRW Consumer Center had shown this in Retail tags about return options are missingthat employees are not adequately trained or the instructions are only hidden in a small copy of the terms and conditions rather than clearly linked on the product websites.

According to information from the Federal Environment Agency, only 6 out of 10 people feel well aware of the potential for e-waste return. At the same time, there is no overview of the collection points found on the Internet.

Battery power is expensive

Non-rechargeable batteries in particular are ineffective, the Federal Environment Agency has determined. Batteries require 40 to 500 times more manufacturing energy than later in use.

The situation is similarly unfavorable with regard to costs. The Federal Environment Agency clarifies this with a sample calculationA kilowatt-hour (kWh) is currently around €0.35 from a socket. To get the same amount of energy (1 kWh) that the batteries provide you will need to use AA batteries, for example €77 Outgoing (AA battery: 2600 mAh, 1.5 V, 0.30 € each).

The comparison is even more unfavorable when using smaller AAA batteries (1250 mAh, 1.5V, €0.30 each): here you should use approx. Spent 160 euros.

Note the expiration date

Electricity is generated in small power plants through chemical reactions. However, this does not work indefinitely – Batteries age and constantly lose some of their original power through self-discharge. The expiration date printed on the package or battery provides information about how long the manufacturer can guarantee quality.

These three tips can help you:

  • In order not to get really weak power splitters, this date must be given when buying At least four years into the future.
  • Batteries must be cold (between 10 and 25 degrees max), Dry, preferably in the original packaging Store will.
  • Always keep the device The batteries are of the same type and in the same charging condition.

If the batteries come into contact with the poles or other metal parts, this may result in faster or more discharging Until it leads to a short circuit.

Correct disposal tips

When your batteries run out, it’s important to dispose of them properly. The NRW Consumer Center offers advice:

  • All spent batteries and accumulators I have to go back to the seller. This applies regardless of the signs and inscriptions. Household waste is an absolute taboo for polluting power dispensers.
  • Button cell and rechargeable battery & Co. Return for free, even if you don’t buy new power cells. Retailers are required to take back batteries of all brands, but only the types they have or are in their range.
  • Smaller devices with built-in or rechargeable batteries – such as wristwatches – can be delivered at municipal collection points for old electronics or returned to online retailers for free.
  • When making a purchase, customers in the store must be informed of the obligation to return the goods.

Batteries and rechargeable batteries included Valuable raw materials Such as nickel, zinc and lithium. but also Toxic heavy metalsAlkalis and caustic acids. So you must be careful. Up to 90 percent of the materials in batteries are recyclable, depending on the method.

advice: Before getting rid of it, you can use a meter to test whether the residual voltage is still enough for devices that do not need a lot of “power”. – For example a small alarm clock. This saves money and protects the environment.

The advantages of rechargeable batteries are obvious

The Federal Environment Agency has another clear recommendation: if you only use stationary devices, you should power them via the socket. You rarely need household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, drills, razors, or hand blenders out of reach of sockets. As a rule, mains powered devices without a battery are more powerful and cheaper.

Batteries are the solution for grid independent power. Multiple recharging reduces the inefficient nature of the power supply. Depending on the type and handling, the batteries can be recharged 200 to 1,000 times before they reach the end.

But there’s also a more environmentally friendly way: Solar-powered letter scales, bathroom scales, or pocket calculators reduce the amount of batteries. When shopping, look for products with the “Blue Angel” eco-label.


Batteries and rechargeable batteries are expensive. So you should use it only if turning on the mains is not possible. Rechargeable batteries have a distinct advantage over batteries. If small power plants have exhausted their power, you should definitely get rid of them at the dealer.

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