Lithium-ion batteries and environment protection

Lithium-ion batteries are generally significantly less toxic compared to lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries , but they are nonetheless associated with environmental impacts. These include resource depletion , energy waste, and risks of land and groundwater pollution leading to ecotoxicity and human health impacts .

Concerns about these impacts have motivated a patchwork of domestic and international legislation. In the United States, for example, California and New York ban and impose fines for the deposit of lithium-ion batteries in landfills . In the European Union, the Battery Directive provides recycling targets for LIBs although its effectiveness is difficult to quantify . Battery directives in other countries often target the heavy metals contained in metal hydride batteries and do not include LIBs .

Determining the appropriate end-of-life disposition of lithium ion batteries is complex given the many options available; these include reuse in the original application, cascaded use in other applications, remanufacturing or refurbishment, refunctionalization, recycling, and ultimately disposal .

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