Do Batteries Contain Gelatin? (If They Do, Are They Vegan?)

D

Instead of taking a hard look at themselves, a lot of people try to discredit vegans, to justify their positions.

One of the latest arguments that I’ve seen popping up is:

Batteries contain gelatin, so if a vegan uses a battery, they’re hypocrites.

Let’s start with the first part, do batteries in fact contain gelatin?

It’s hard to find a good source for this.

The most common statement I’ve seen is: “Gelatin is used in metal processing to improve metal’s structure, such as cadmium in batteries.”

This appears to come from a book called Veganissimo. Honestly, as someone with common sense (and a chemical engineering degree), that single quote isn’t very convincing that the author understands what they’re writing about.

In addition, I found a single research paper that described testing gelatin “as a water-soluble binder for sulfur-based electrodes.”

Is gelatin used in some batteries? It definitely could be, but I have no idea what percentage of batteries would use it, and I couldn’t find any sort of credible source for the claim.

Can Vegans Use Batteries if They Contain Gelatin?

Questions like this always relate back to the general definition of veganism.

The Vegan Society defines it as:

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.

Almost anything we buy has some sort of negative effect on others, either directly or indirectly.

For many, batteries are part of our everyday lives (for computers, phones, smoke detectors, etc.) and are often needed for work.

It’s not possible or practical to avoid them, which is why it’s completely reasonable for vegans to use batteries

It’s also not possible to know if gelatin is used in the batteries you own (not exactly common information). It’s similar to the possibility of LCD screens having cholesterol.

As more people go vegan, product information in niche cases like these will become more available, and clearly vegan substitutes will be developed.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

2 comments

  • I found your post while searching online, unsuccessfully, for vegan batteries. I appreciate your research and stance, as well as the idea that more resources will be available to consumers, as more people accept veganism.

  • Thanks for posting this. I’m vegan and someone commented that my laptop was made with meat. So maybe a little, but they never have logical arguments, I’m sure you know. I’m starting to think it’s all about how smart you are, etc. They are still little kids that eat the meat mom put on the table and they’ve never questioned whether it was morally wrong. Or dad took them fishing and gave them that pat on the back. Oh, and thanks for the Vegan Society’s platform. Alex in Montana