Battery power or cordless is one of the first things to consider when purchasing any new power tool. But we never think about if corded or battery-powered are better for the environment. You mainly want to make sure that the tool is easy to carry around with you whilst also being lightweight.
We hate turning up to a job site and spending time looking for extension cords and generators! But we must not forget about the environmental factor of batteries. Are battery-powered tools really better for the environment, or are we just moving the pollution elsewhere?
Coming from the name, battery-powered tools use a battery as their source of electricity rather than a power outlet. There is, therefore, no need to use a wall socket or portable generator as the electrical source for the tool. Generators are often noisy, dirty, and give off lots of fumes so it’s an obvious improvement to use batteries instead.
Corded vs Cordless: From an Environmentalist Perspective
Since battery-powered tools do not directly produce carbon emissions they are much better from a sustainability point of view. This, however, could come with a few disadvantages regarding their waste. There are also the effects of certain chemicals in the battery on the environment and how the degradation process can be harmful.
Practicalities of Battery Powered Tools
As well as being more sustainable locally, battery-powered tools are more practical. A power outlet is not essential for their use, therefore no trailing wires or difficulty in remote areas. This means that they can be practically used anywhere, for any type of work.
The design and engineering of batteries have evolved to very high standards. This means that a battery nowadays can be strong enough to work for many hours without a recharge.
Improved Battery Life
With a longer-lasting battery life in modern batteries, the tools are more useful because they can be used in places where there are no outlets available. Using tools such as a cordless impact driver once again allows for freedom from an electrical outlet.
By using battery tools there is the potential for less pollution caused to the environment. Therefore they are better for the environment in the long run compared to corded tools.
Portability and Transportation
A good example of portability using batteries is an electric pressure washer. They are much more transportable when their energy source is a battery. A power washer is commonly used on a driveway with limited access to outlets. It is therefore impractical to use a corded washer.
Please note that there are other hazards regarding the use of water and electricity at the same time without extra caution.
Battery-powered engines are much lighter than the engines in traditional gas tools. As the tools are not as heavy, it is made easier to carry and use for more difficult jobs such as hedge trimming or using a backpack leaf blower.
Disposal Of Batteries
There are hazards that could result from the disposal of batteries after they are of no use. If batteries are not disposed of properly they will cause serious issues to the environment. The chemicals that the battery is made of will eventually affect the soil and microbes.
If dangerous substances included in batteries reaches the soil, they could enter water sources. This could result in potential food and water poisonings for the local community and wildlife.
Battery Production Environmental Effect
A further consideration that should be taken with batteries is how they are produced. Some batteries have a great impact on the environment due to the scarcity of certain materials. When a material is scarce issues are found in the environment from where it is extracted. Due to the over mining for materials the natural environment degrades and becomes polluted.
Local Environmnetal Effects
When considering the local environment, battery tools cause fewer vibrations and disturbance to the surroundings. By limiting the noise caused, the tools provide a quiet environment at the job site.
As the tools generate less noise compared to a gas engine, the local wildlife will be less disturbed by it. This is a positive action towards the environment and is down to using electric motors rather than gas-powered versions. This is another fact that makes battery-powered tools more environmentally friendly compared to their non-battery competitors.
Issues with cordless Power Tools
There are a few negatives related to battery use with power tools. The obvious issue is having to recharge the battery regularly if the tool has to be used for a big project.
Also, you may find that the tool has less power than a gas-powered tool. However, with the constant improvements in battery technology and motor design, this will be less obvious.
As long as batteries are not left to decompose in nature and are instead recycled then the environmental benefits are clear. The shortage of battery producing materials could be partially resolved to make sure that there is less harm done to the environment.
How to Consider the Environment When Purchasing a Battery Powered Tool?
When purchasing tools everyone always has their reasons for either a corded or cordless tool. We believe that for many of the reasons stated above, battery tools are used in an efficient and more environmentally friendly way.
We believe that in the long term battery powered tools are better for the environment as well as personal safety. You use the tool for a shorter amount of time, can do the job quicker, it is quieter and therefore safer. However careful considerations should be taken into account when you are disposing of batteries once their lifespan has ended.