recycling bottle necks and batteries

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-07-01 11:30

The good news is that Pick n Pay is providing recycle bins for energy-saving light bulbs and rechargeable batteries. Philips, who have a recycling plant going up in Lesotho, have teamed up with Pick n Pay to recycle CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs). Without this facility, the mercury from these lamps would leach into landfill and our environment. Pick n Pay has teamed up with Uniross to recycle batteries, also responsible for leaching hazardous substances. You can now throw your rechargeable batteries into bins provided throughout Pick n Pay stores. Pick n Pay is mounting an awareness campaign to encourage people to buy rechargeable, as opposed to disposable, batteries – SA consumes some 50 million batteries a year, 95% of which are disposable.

No sooner do we write our green your recycling guide , then we read about a recycling bottleneck. Why? It appears that one of the country’s major glass recycling companies, Enviroglass, has stopped emptying bottle banks. They’ve decided to concentrate on recycling scrap metal rather than glass. Consol has estimated that there are about 1500 bottle banks across the country, mostly in Gauteng and Cape Town and that Enviroglass is the largest of three service providers responsible for emptying them. They are being generous though: they’re donating the bottle banks, most of which they own, to the community…![business day]

Finally, the government is in favour of recycling hundreds of tons of highly-radioactive spent uranium fuel. The uranium is from the country’s three nuclear reactors. Naturally, there are international concerns as one of the components is plutonium, even though it isn’t weapon-grade. But what about the environment? What are the possible impacts of recycling and potentially exposing the environment and us to uranium? At the moment, low and intermediate-level waste from Koeberg is sent to a storage facility at Vaalputs in the Northern Cape, whilst high-level waste, mainly spent fuel rods, is kept at the power station. The motive behind the recycling is obviously the high cost of fuel, as by recycling 95% of the used fuel can be re-used. [IOL]

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