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Nickel, for example, is produced by electrolytic processes and has a higher melting temperature, and thus requires higher energy to produce per metric tonne. However, in general, the levels of both metal emissions and greenhouse gas emissions which are produced in the production of battery metals are a small fraction of the total weight of the metals used in the battery. Thus, what is far more important in a total environmental impact analysis is whether or not a spent battery is recycled or disposed of by land-filling or incineration. If a battery is recycled, then the vast majority (>95%) of the weight of the battery does not produce an environmental impact. If the battery is land-filled or incinerated, then most of the materials in the battery are capable of producing an environmental impact. If all batteries were recycled to a similar degree, then compositional factors and primary metal production factors, as well as other factors to be subsequently discussed, would be more important.

Finally, the conversion of the primary metal into the product and the form which are actually utilized in the battery system should be considered. For example, the electrode materials in lead acid batteries are normally cast lead or lead-alloy grids. The materials utilized in NiCd batteries are cadmium oxide and high surface area nickel foams or meshes. Technically, all of these factors should be considered to produce a detailed life cycle analysis. However, again, these differences are generally quite small compared to the principal variables - composition, performance and spent battery disposal option.

Manufacture of Battery Systems

Similarly, there is ample data available to demonstrate that the emissions associated with the manufacture of battery systems are minimal compared to those associated with the disposal of batteries into the environment. For example, studies have been made on NiCd batteries by both the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) which indicate that the vast majority of cadmium in the manufacture of NiCd batteries partitions to the product and that only very small amounts are emitted to the environment. This result arises from both stringent regulations in place today, modern pollution control technology, and the general commitment to utilize valuable raw materials to the fullest extent possible. The partitioning of cadmium in the manufacture of NiCd batteries, according to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 1994) and SEI (Stockholm Environmental Institute 1994) data, is summarized in Table III.

The SEI data is based mainly on earlier emission numbers for NiCd battery manufacturing, whereas the OECD monograph data represents updated emissions in the European Union as of 1994 compared to total volumes of cadmium utilized for NiCd battery production, based on information from the International Cadmium Association. All of this data indicates that most of the cadmium remains in the product and is not lost during NiCd battery manufacturing. A similar conclusion can be inferred with respect to nickel and cobalt, the other materials in a NiCd battery which might be likely to be regarded as "hazardous" and contribute to an adverse environmental impact. Iron, of

Table III. Partitioning of Cadmium in NiCd Battery Manufacturing

Percent of Total Cadmium SEI Report OECD Monograph

Industrial Consumer Industrial Consumer

Air Emissions

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DIY Battery Repair

DIY Battery Repair

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