Words & Photo: Sha-Izwe/CharlesSmithAssoc
Leading 4x4 expert Tim Skelton from SA Adventure recently embarked on a 3 000km trip to Botswana where he tested the Unirossrechargeable battery products to see their effectiveness for outdoor use.
The Uniross batteries were charged using the expedition Land Rover’s cigarette lighter attachment. “The batteries were charged each time in under 45 minutes and used every evening in an LED headlamp. Single-use batteries usually last 3-4 hours and are then thrown away. But with the Uniross batteries, the headlamp lasted all night and the batteries could be charged the next day, instead of throwing them away.”
“The reduced environmental impact is evident but also the savings on battery costs,” said Mr. Skelton. “I would have thrown away over R1 000 worth of single-use batteries on this three-week trip alone. But now the Uniross rechargeables can come with me on my next trip with no harmful discarded batteries entering our environment,” said Mr. Skelton.
“Based on the amount of batteries I use annually on these trips and outdoor off-road events, the savings could be as much as R3 000 to R4 000 annually.”
“Domestic batteries dumped in unsecured landfills contaminate ground water,” said Michael Rogers, MD of Uniross, the rechargeable battery manufacturer. “About 30 000 tons of domestic batteries, such as penlight batteries, are discarded in unsecured landfills annually in South Africa. Batteries need to be disposed of carefully, however most are not.”
Uniross estimates that this represents about 50-million domestic batteries a year. The batteries erode and leak chemicals such as nickel and cadmium into the soil and underground water table.
The mercury contained in a single AAA non-rechargeable penlight battery can pollute 500 litres of water or one cubic meter of land for 50 years. On the other hand, because rechargeable batteries can be re-used up to 500 times, a single rechargeable battery canreplace up to 500 discarded non-rechargeable batteries.
“The long-term contamination effects of dumping hundreds of millions of batteries in the ground, over a number of years, ishazardous to humans, animals, fish life and the environment,” he said.
“Because rechargeable batteries are capable of being recharged and re-used up to 500 times, South Africans could reduce this enormous battery pollution from 50-million to a fraction of this number each year – an enormous benefit to our environment.”