Li-ion battery recycling and cobalt flow analysis in Japan

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Asari, Misuzu ; Sakai, Shin-ichi (2013)
  • Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
  • Journal: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, volume 81, pages 52-59 (issn: 0921-3449)
  • Subject: Li-ion battery | Cobalt | Questionnaire | Substance flow analysis | Chemical analysis

Batteries sometimes contain precious or toxic substances (e.g. nickel, cobalt, lead, mercury, cadmium). However, the collection and recycling rate of small batteries were low in Japan. We focus on cobalt in lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries and conduct chemical analysis, questioner survey and flow analysis in Japan.Results of chemical analysis showed that the concentration of cobalt in Li-ion batteries was around 20% regardless of the year manufactured or the manufacturer. As a result of the consumer questionnaire survey, it became clear that 70% or more of the small batteries are not being removed when small electronic products are finally disposed. The survey also revealed that recognition of the law and system for collection and recycling of small rechargeable batteries is approximately 30–40%. Substance flow analysis showed that both production and demand for Li-ion batteries (cobalt) have increased during 2002–2010. The collection rate for used Li-ion batteries was about 10% during this period; uncollected batteries were either stored or disposed through incineration and landfill as municipal solid waste.
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