From the very small to the very large, batteries provide power to all manner of electronic devices. Batteries are the fuel cells that enable us to walk and talk and use other devices wirelessly and on the go. So, are these very important components of the technological world vegan?
Are Batteries Vegan?
In the purest sense, batteries may not be classed as strictly vegan. However, each of us chooses how to execute our veganism, what items we can practically exclude from our lives, and which we can’t. As batteries are an unavoidable element in using all electronics, most vegans will likely decide they are accepting of their usage.
This does not mean that they don’t aspire and push for a more vegan alternative to arise in the future, merely that they are willing to make some compromises to exist in the modern world.
Are There Animal Products in Batteries?
In general, any battery you use will likely have some trace of animal products in it. It may also have been manufactured on machinery and using processes that involve animal-derived substances. As a battery is of little use without the device, it powers.
Any non-vegan products found in the devices are also of significance. These can include the animal cholesterol that may be used in the LCD screens of phones, computers, and TVs, to the glues used in electronic products that may have animal derivatives in them.
What Animal Products Are In Batteries?
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what animal by-products may appear in your batteries, but gelatin is one of the most likely culprits. Gelatin is derived from animal fat, usually from cows or pigs, and is used to improve the integrity of the metal.
Major brand manufacturers of batteries and other electronics have often have been quick to proclaim that they presently have little alternative than to use gelatin to give items the structure they require.
There may also be other products extracted from animals present in batteries. As each chemical and substance used in the manufacture of batteries can itself be a complex mixture of other different substances, it’s very hard to know the exact origin of everything involved.
Are There Any Vegan Battery Alternatives?
While there are currently no known vegan-certified batteries, there has been some interesting research in the field that may yield results in the future. The science wizards behind all our gadgetry and its power sources have revealed at least two exciting innovations.
First is the possibility that future batteries could be made from heme, a substance abundant in the hemoglobin of animals. It’s been found that heme is also present, to a lesser extent, in the roots of legumes.
A battery made from legume roots that sound pretty vegan! Of course, whether other animal by-products would still be included in its production remains to be seen.
The second possibility is a 3d printed recyclable veggie battery made from vegetable starch and carbon nanotubes. As with the heme option, the inclusion or not of other non-vegan ingredients is not yet confirmed.
Are Any Major Brands Developing Vegan Batteries?
You’ve heard of Mercedes, right? Well, somewhat surprisingly, the luxury car manufacturer is investigating organic battery technology that sounds very much like it may be vegan-friendly.
It hopes to use such a battery to power its electric vehicles of the future. If Mercedes is already at it, probably, other major manufacturers are also developing their own alternative batteries from vegetable sources.
How Is Battery Development Advancing?
Batteries are a topic of ongoing advancements, but much of the focus seems to be on making them more environmentally friendly and conflict-free. Batteries contain formulas of toxic metals, the mining of which can lead to environmental devastation, human exploitation, and the escalation of conflict in some areas.
In the worst cases, child labor is used in the extraction of some minerals and metals.
Today’s most commonly used type of battery is the lithium-ion battery, favored because it’s cheap to produce, has less toxic metals in it than some other batteries containing led and cadmium, and is powerful for its weight. However, even lithium-ion batteries don’t get the best environmental and ethical review.
There is a global environmental, and human rights push towards the safer sourcing and production of batteries that do less harm to the planet and to humans. Many vegans also tend to be eco-conscious and ethically driven and thus supportive of any innovation towards cleaner and conflict-free batteries.
It would follow that the next big issue for battery manufacturers is to develop ways in which they can produce power cells that are also free of animal exploitation.
Are There Any Vegan Electronics?
There are probably no electronics products that can be confirmed as 100 percent vegan, depending, of course, on how you wish to define this. A good guide for vegans could be to veer towards manufacturers that appear to be transparent about their product choices and material sourcing.
They should have a confirmed record of not endorsing animal testing and show a real concern about making electronics more environmentally sustainable. Fairphone is one small boutique company that probably comes as close as any to making a vegan electronics product.
Still, even it states that it does not guarantee its products are or can be in the near future, one hundred percent vegan.
Let’s say it’s more a certainty than a probability that the batteries you use today have some trace of animal products in them. Let’s also contemplate that to live a life with zero consumption of anything that has ever had any involvement with animal products, and animal exploitation is virtually impossible.
Most vegans are happy doing the very best they can to minimize animal misuse through their diet, product, and service choices, and always to hope for an even more vegan future.
As companies consolidate making batteries that are ethically aligned with a healthier planet and with protecting humans from suffering, we should see this consideration extended to the potential suffering of animals.