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Weekly Tips | March 11, 2013

An Assault on Batteries!


Image credit: <a  data-cke-saved-href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_13078300_battery-charger-with-plug-3d-isolated.html' href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_13078300_battery-charger-with-plug-3d-isolated.html'>flashdevelop / 123RF Stock Photo</a>If you've been charged with an odds and ends drawer full of batteries (some of which may work, and some which may not!), then take matters into your own hands. Plead guilty as re-charged, and offer a great defense by taking the offense in manhandling those household alkalines, and finding a longer term solution that appeals to the environment!

Did you know rechargeable batteries use up to 23 times fewer resources(1) compared to their disposable counterparts? Next time you are looking for a way to power up that gadget, choose the rechargeable kind. Many, such as Energizer’s AA rechargeables, look like alkaline batteries; yet, instead of throwing them away when they get low, you pop them into a charger such as Duracell’s 15-minute one and use them again and again (up to 1,000 times!)(2). These products can be found online and in local drugstores. Other rechargeable batteries utilize USB technology, such as USBCELL , which allows you to plug them into a computer or anything else with a common USB port.

Even better than rechargeable batteries are no batteries at all! Solar-powered flashlights and calculators are readily available and won’t generate extra battery waste at the end of their useful lives. Check out Voltaic for a wide variety of solar-powered items.

As you make the transition to rechargeable, you may have a few alkaline batteries hanging around in that “everything” drawer. You can drop them off for recycling at any of the locations listed on King County’s “What Do I Do With?” website or at the CleanScapes Store in Issaquah. These locations may also accept other types of batteries, such as car batteries and button batteries.

The Big Picture

Nearly 480 million batteries end up in U.S. landfills every year. That’s enough to fill ten Great Lake freighters!(3)

Choosing rechargeable batteries not only reduces waste, but it can help address other environmental problems.  Compared to disposal varieties, rechargeable batteries have a much smaller impact on air acidification, water and air pollution.(1)

The good news is that technologies for rechargeable batteries and battery alternatives are evolving at a fast pace. Research is being conducted on a plant-based battery(4), and a nickel metal hydride battery has been developed to eliminate toxic metal content.

Sources: (1) One Green Planet | (2) Mother Earth News | (3) Raw Materials Company | (4) engadgetPR NEWSWIRE

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