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I found myself a bit uneasy when asked about the potential impacts on the environment of creating and disposing large batteries for hybrids. Does anyone have any thoughts about this topic? If hybrid sales exploded and we had millions of batteries to deal with, what would the impact be? Can they be recycled or are they not really a concern if contained in a suitable landfill? Does anyone know where Honda America stands on the issue? What has happened to the few batteries that have already died?

P.S. on a previous stream I asked about the environmental impacts of flying vs. driving to my x-mas destination. I ended up driving but got to thinking that my argument of sending a message to the airlines to cut back on scheduled flights really doesn't hold wait as the same could be said in a way about reducing demand for the roads. Lord knows road construction has major environmental impacts. So my conclusion was that the best option would have been to stay home (as someone else pointed out).
 

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lethostigma said:
I found myself a bit uneasy when asked about the potential impacts on the environment of creating and disposing large batteries for hybrids. Does anyone have any thoughts about this topic? If hybrid sales exploded and we had millions of batteries to deal with, what would the impact be? Can they be recycled or are they not really a concern if contained in a suitable landfill? Does anyone know where Honda America stands on the issue? What has happened to the few batteries that have already died?
We already have tens, possibly hundreds of millions of batteries disposed of every few years. They're those nasty lead-acid ones that every conventional car comes with. There are already laws and recycling rules in place so those batteries are dealt with properly. The batteries in hybrids are no exception. The manufacturers will work with the government to see that they are handled safely and properly. One thing that they have going for them is that NiMH is far, FAR safer than lead-acid batteries. See short snippit below:

http://www.alltekpower.com/faq/index.asp?a=4&q=19

"NiMH batteries are 100% recyclable, and contain no toxic materials (lead, cadmium, or lithium ) that can be hazardous to the environment. Actually NiMH batteries are the only rechargeable battery that can be legally disposed of in a landfill. There are also disposal facilities in most major areas that will also dispose of your batteries for you."
 

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Thanks for the info AZCivic. I figured they must be recyclable but wonder if they actually get recycled. I'll have to call my dealership and ask them what they would do with one and then I'll call Honda Amercia and ask what the official policy is.
 

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Life up your rear carpet, the disposal information sticker is right next to the "certain death if you open this box" sticker. They provide a 800 number to call about disposal information. So there is some sort of disposal system in effect. Alternately at every radio shack in America you can take in your old rechargable batteries (small ones) and have them disposed of through this organization:
http://www.rbrc.org/
My worst case scenario plan is you could break the pack down and go put them in the box and they'd take care of the rest.
 

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When someone asked me about the battery, I'd just tell them, "It goes to the same place your car and your garbage goes... the junkyard." It amazes me that people will get so uptight about a tiny battery, and yet turn around and throw away tons of garbage every year without second thought.
 

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Honda would probably love to get back any defective battery packs for analysis.

Any savy tinkerer would love to get a "defective" battery pack. In most cases only one or at most several of the batteries would be truly defective. The rest would probably be 90 percent effective. Let me see.... I could finish off the solar charged electric boat project, and then there's the battery backup for the pellet stove, and the 50 watt halogen flashlight. :shock: Don't get me started.
 

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Good point. When your Insight/Hybrid is ready for the junkyard, you could pull the D-sized batteries and use them in your boombox or portable TV or whatever else you own.
 
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