Part 1: Buying and Disposing of Batteries for Gadgets

batteries recycle“Don’t forget to buy batteries!”

How many times have you heard this? If it wasn’t a salesperson then it was probably your spouse. Or, perhaps you found a friendly reminder on product packaging, in a catalog or during checkout on a retail website. Did you buy any battery-less gifts? Socks and underwear don’t count.

If you’ve accepted battery use (and purchasing) as part of modern life, this two part series should enlighten you about the pros and cons of disposable vs. rechargeable household batteries and what to do with them at the end of their life.

If you still don’t think you use a lot of batteries, start saving them for recycling. The exercise will be eye opening for you and your family.

Disposable Batteries for Electronics

As consumers, we don’t have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to batteries for cars, cell phones, laptops, tools or appliances. But, there are options when buying disposable household alkaline batteries. Most high-drain and frequently used devices require size AA or AAA batteries. Other common alkaline batteries come in C, D and 9V sizes.

Since alkaline batteries are made for high-drain, frequently used devices, we consume a lot of alkaline batteries. Some battery manufacturers sell more expensive alkaline batteries that supposedly have a longer life when used for their intended purpose. Ultra digital batteries claim to have a longer life than ordinary alkaline batteries when they are used in digital camera or similar electronic devices. Duracell® makes the UltraAdvanced, an alkaline battery that claims to provide 30 percent more power than ultra digitals.

Energizer Advanced Lithium batteries

Energizer® appears to have abandoned its e2 line of alkaline batteries once made specifically for electronics in favor of its newer Advanced Lithium and Ultimate Lithium lines-both designed to exceed the life of the lower-end Energizer MAX® when used in high-tech devices like digital cameras, GPS units and wireless headsets. The lithium-based batteries also weigh less than alkalines, which will make your gadget lighter too. And, if you like to battery stock-up sales, lithiums last longer while sitting unused on your storage room shelf.

Recycling Disposable Batteries

No matter what type of battery you choose, it will have a limited lifespan. It seems like everybody says they’re recycling batteries today — from drug and grocery stores to workplaces. What those places actually do is collect batteries for recycling. Some send them off to reputable recycling organizations, some sort through them to find only the batteries with valuable components, and others throw them in the trash.

Batteries EPA website

Rules and regulations on the disposal of batteries vary from state to state. The stricter the state, the more recycling options you’ll find in your community. But, according to battery manufacturers, alkaline batteries no longer incorporate mercury so they can go in your trash and over to the landfill right along with that orange peel. Check with your local recycling or Household Hazardous Waste coordinators for specifics.

Next week: Switching to Rechargeable Batteries

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