Anything that’s powered by electricity or a battery is going to have an impact on the environment – that’s unavoidable. That doesn’t mean that all battery technology is created equal and we certainly have come a long way in the past couple of decades. Thirty years ago you would have not have found lithium-ion batteries in any technology, but these days they’re in just about every electrical device we use. What did we use before lithium-ion technology? The most common form of rechargeable battery, before lithium-ion technology became the battery of choice, was nickel cadmium.
There are a couple of reasons why lithium-ion technology has for the most part replaced nickel cadmium technology. However, there are still benefits to using the nickel cadmium technology and that’s why you still find them in some electric toothbrushes. Below we look at the advantages versus disadvantages of both types of technology, and which one you should look for in an electric toothbrush.
Nickel Cadmium technology is not new – it’s been around for a long time. In fact, its first recorded use was by a Swedish inventor by the name of Waldemar Junger way back in 1899. It’s highly unlikely that this Swedish scientist envisioned all of the products that his nickel cadmium technology would be used in, but there’s no doubt he sparked a revolution in how we power our products.
The main benefit of this technology was that it allowed us to make our electrical products more portable – we didn’t have to have an electrical outlet for them to work. When the first electric toothbrushes were released onto the market in the late 50s and early 60s, nickel cadmium wasn’t just the main choice, it was really the only choice for a rechargeable battery.
Environmental Impact of Nickel Cadmium
The reason that we began to look for an alternative to nickel cadmium rechargeable batteries was because of their significant environmental impact. Cadmium is a hazardous heavy metal which can have a serious impact on the environment around us. That makes disposal of these types of batteries a very difficult proposition. This type of battery is still widely used today, but you’ll generally find it used in cheaper products or older technology. The batteries that power our smart devices and computers are almost exclusively lithium-ion.