We are advised by our various governments that the most environmentally-friendly way to dispose of a battery is to give it in to a designated battery recycling plant.
But could the process of doing all that (due to the many resources needed to perform such an intensive task - even if it outputs resources from the batter for re-use - such as the resources (other consumable materials) and energy (power) consumed to mechanise the process, and also emission contribution to long-term ecological strain), make it actually less sustainable than simply tossing it in the trash and letting it be taken to the designated local tip, where it will, assumedly underground, in time, break down there anyway?
Or maybe there's a third more sustainable method, such as burying it yourself (as far underground as possible, away from water sources or aquifers and with the assumption that eventually, microbes in the earth will break down its toxins and heavy metal compounds, even if that might take a long time)?
So in other words, which alternative, when pros and cons of battery materials reusability, and resources consumption of each alternative are weighed up, is the most sustainable?
Perhaps it depends on how efficient the battery recycling operation is, and requires consideration of scalability when comparing the methods (whereby if done in large numbers it does end up being the winner, but certainly not on smaller scales)?