Bio | Ademe survey

Carried out in 2007, the UNIROSS study constitutes the first worldwide study comparing disposable batteries with Ni-MH rechargeable batteries.

Performed by Bio Intelligence Service for UNIROSS, this study was based on a comparative life cycle analysis between disposable batteries and rechargeable batteries.

Rechargeable batteries: up to 32 times less impact on the environment than disposable batteries The UNIROSS study focuses on 11 indicators of potential impacts on the environment. The challenge of these indicators is to express the environmental impact of the product throughout its life cycle.

The main origins of environmental impact are:
• for rechargeable batteries: the production and use phases (charge cycles);
• for disposable batteries: mainly the production phase (between 70 and 100%).

In a context in which consumers are increasingly attentive to modes of consumption which combine performances and responsibility, rechargeable batteries have come to be seen as a veritable alternative to disposable batteries.

Battery impact on 5 key indicators
Bio Intelligence Service adopted the 5 main environmental impact indicators with the widest scope out of the total of 11 studied. The 5 indicators are: consumption of natural

For 1 kWh of energy produced, rechargeable batteries have:

23 times less potential impact on non-renewable natural resources
This indicator translates the decreasing availability of natural resources. Rechargeable batteries consume up to 23 times less non-renewable natural resources (fossil and mineral) than disposable batteries. To provide the same amount of energy, more disposable batteries are needed than rechargeable batteries. This implies a greater consumption of natural resources.

28 times less potential impact on global warming
Climate change means an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s surface caused by an increase in the greenhouse gas effect. Rechargeable batteries have up to 28 times less impact on climate warming than disposable batteries. This ratio can mainly be explained by the impact caused when manufacturing disposable batteries and distributing them (transportation in trucks and the related greenhouse gas emissions).

30 times less potential impact on air pollution (ozone pollution)
Photochemical oxidation is responsible for peaks of ozone and emissions of compounds toxic to man. Rechargeable batteries have up to 30 times less impact on ozone pollution than disposable batteries.

9 times less potential impact on air acidification
The air acidification indicator consists in the accumulation of acidifying substances in the atmosphere particules. Deposited in ecosystems by rain, they have a strong impact on soil and ecosystems. Rechargeable batteries have up to 9 times less impact on air acidification than disposable batteries.

12 times less potential impact on water pollution
The sedimentary ecotoxicity indicator evaluates potential toxic risks due to the emission of chemicals into aquatic ecosystems. Rechargeable batteries have up to 12 times less potential toxic risks for fresh water and sea water sediments.

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