discussion / Camera Traps  / 11 December 2023

Camera Traps batteries waste

Hi Wildlabs community! I am wondering how you or your country handle the battery wastes after the Camera Traps - including one-off alkaline and Lithium. In Indonesia, there is almost virtually none of good waste management of these. In extreme cases, some people just drop it on site! was wondering if you could share your experience and/or best practice! Sorry if it has been asked before, but really curious with this and I thinks it's an overlooked important issue (at least from where I am come from). Thanks!

In Belgium there's a national battery recycle program, and they take in almost all type of batteries, even lithium polymer, so that works quite well! Have you looked into rechargeable batteries that would work for your camera trap? 

In Luxembourg same as in Belgium regarding the management of waste batteries. 

We are now using Reconyx which work very well with rechargeable alkalines AA 1.2V (the settings of the CTs allows you to select the battery type (lithium or alkaline)).  

The drawback of rechargeable battery is that you need to control the charge individually of each battery otherwise a single defective battery can induce the stop of the device... 

I agree with the caveats on NiMH rechargeables on this thread.  There is another alternative for rechargeable AA batteries: so-called “li-ion” AA cells. The manufacturers of these batteries integrate a small power converter inside the AA form factor to convert the 3.7V produced by an internal Li-Ion cell to the AA standard of 1.5 Volts.  Because of limitations on components in the power converter, these batteries are not suitable for devices with high instantaneous current draws (e.g. SB-28 Xenon Flashes), but they work fine with the max current from all the trail cameras I know of  (e.g. with LED flashes on). 

These batteries have similarly good thermal performance as LiFeS2 batteries.  The per-charge energy capacity is about half of that of LiFeS2 batteries, but a little better than NiMH.  They are typically more expensive than NiMH cells.  

These batteries are rated for "1000's" of cycles.  Unfortunately, I do not have long term data that shows this is achievable under field conditions.  But even a 100 cycles would be a big win over primary cells.  

 See longer description on my posts:

https://winterberrywildlife.ouroneacrefarm.com/2022/04/21/deep-tech-rechargeable-li-ion-aa-batteries-for-trail-cameras/and https://winterberrywildlife.ouroneacrefarm.com/2021/11/10/trail-camera-batteries-internal-aa-cell-options/


Hi mas Herdhanu,

I am facing the same problem here after a massive Passive Acoustic Monitoring project in West Java for the last 6 months and ended up with ~2 kg of empty alkaline batteries that just sat at my office, not sure of what to do with them. My best suggestion is to contact DLH in your region to see if they have a drop point for alkaline waste--you will be surprised how many of them actually have it, but they simply did not advertise it enough to the public!

I tried using rechargeable NiMH once in my past project and will never use it again as I lost precious days of data because of it. Li-Ion as mentioned by @rcz133  does seem like a good alternative though, but I will do a trial run before actually using it for data collection to avoid my past mistakes. I checked Tokopedia and it does seem to be quite expensive especially if you want to run more than one device at the same period (e.g. camera trap, PAM, etc) compared to Alkaline, but I am sure it can pay off in the long run.