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A Zinc 'Famine'

Nature volume 145, page 65 (13 January 1940) | Download Citation



ACCORDING to the Electrical Contractor and Retailer an idea was current a short time ago that a shortage of zinc was responsible for the recent famine in torch-batteries. This is not the case as there was plenty of zinc in Great Britain and the torch-battery famine was due entirely to the overwhelming Government and public demand for these accessories—and quite naturally so. When a large number of people suddenly resolve to carry flash-lamps, something like a temporary famine is unavoidable. During the life of an ordinary dry battery possibly five per cent of the zinc is consumed and so about 95 per cent of the zinc used for this service is thrown away. It looks as if we were surrounded by an appalling waste in various directions. Notice, for example, the packing of tobacco and cigarettes for domestic use in 'tins' and then visualize the waste of iron and tin thereby involved. Many of these tins are also provided with substantial rubber seals, all of which are used once and then thrown away. It would be of interest if somebody considered whether this waste is serious or not, and if it is, then investigate how the saving could be effected.

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