Use rechargable batteries

Filed in Reuse by on December 29, 2009 8 Comments
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use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable to save landfill wasteIn 2001, the British public bought 680 million batteries, most of which were disposable. And shame on us – we only recycled 2% of those once-use batteries. This resulted in an estimated 19,000 tonnes of waste material being put into landfill.

When the batteries eventually corrode, heavy metals leach into the ground, contributing to soil and water pollution which endangers wildlife.

Cadmium, for example, can be toxic to aquatic invertebrates and can bio-accumulate in fish, which damages ecosystems and makes them unfit for human consumption.

Rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, are better for the environment and contain a great percentage of reusable material once they reach the end of their useful life!

Even though the outlay may be expensive, rechargeable batteries will pay for themselves in no time. Some batteries can be re-used as many as 1000 times.

To ensure rechargeable batteries work for you, make sure you have spares fully charged as they tend to suddenly run out, rather than fade. Because of this, don’t use them in smoke alarms, but for your every day usage such as digital camera, bedside clocks, torches and portable cds players, they are perfect! Remember to dispose of them responsibly once they reach the end of their useful life by following WEEE guidelines or returning to the seller.

What about you – do you use rechargeable batteries? How do you get on with them?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (8)

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  1. Jane says:

    I used to use rechargeable batteries a lot years ago but must admit that when they became more difficult to find I rather lapsed.

    We have reduced the number of things that we require batteries for now. We don’t need to buy batteries for our torches – we shake them or squeeze them or wind them up. We have a wind-up radio.

    We can recycle batteries in our kerbside collection now as well (I remember being jealous of the Rubbish Diet lady’s collection.) Before that I took them to Sainsbury’s (can’t any more) but am looking forward to there being more collection places for people to take them in the new year and hopefully more shops will stock reuseable batteries again. (Yes, why aren’t I asking for them? I should be. I must be slipping!)

  2. LJayne says:

    We use quite a lot of rechargeables as have small kids & battery toys. I’ve tried to limit the number of the latter but there are some really good ones and so, for us, rechargeables are the way to go.

    Both ds and DH have recently acquired wind up torches and my new phone has a small but good flashlight in the top of it.

    My digital SLR also has its own rechargeable pack battery rather than using standard ones. Has an excellent life on it compared to standard batteries I’m finding.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Hi Jane, have you had problems finding rechargeable batteries? Weird, I never found that; I even saw them in Sainsburys the other day. Like you we have some solar / shake / wind gadgets too; all of which helps to reduce the need for batteries. Let us know what the stores say about stocking these batteries; I would have thought they would be popular, but perhaps people still prefer the ‘convenience’ of disposable.

    @LJayne: Hi Lesley, we find that with the camera battery too – it seems to last forever. It sounds like the rechargeable batteries work out well for your kids toys; I was never sure how long they would last, but I suppose they don’t use much power.

  4. Karen Hughes says:

    Our local TV shop in Yelverton , Devon will take old batteries for disposal.

  5. Poppy says:

    We’ve found that rechargeables let us down at the wrong time (not sure when a right time would be lol). Mr P was taking some pretty important photographs, away from home on Saturday and the camera died! I think maybe we should always carry a reliable non-recyclable brand for emergencies.

    I noticed the other day, that Tesco had a huge battery container in their doorway for people to recycle batteries. With their new machine as well, it does seem that they are making an effort to help customers recycle more. That said, the machine was out of action and people are getting annoyed that it only serves 2 people at a time and you can only place in one item at a time and wait for that one to clear before you can add another, where as the old skip containers had at least 6 holes each.

    There also seems to be a tendancy to bring everything but the kitchen sink and just dump it on site 🙁 Why??

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen Hughes: Hi Karen, welcome to the site and thanks for sharing the information – it will be helpful to future readers.

    @Poppy: Oh no, Poppy! We carry a set of charged up spares with us, but it does take a while to get into that habit. Sorry to hear about that. I think Tesco are doing pretty well with their recycling policies; but yes, it’s frustrating that only 2 people at a time can recycle…

  7. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    Oh we did have spares Mrs G. Mr P killed the first lot in no time and then dropped the box when he was swapping them back over, so we couldn’t tell which ones had died and which were still live. Time was against us, so he abandoned the idea and borrowed a camera from someone else.

  8. Jane says:

    Expect more bins for batteries in stores as new legislation came into effect on 1 January and from 1 February retailers selling more than a certain amount have to provide free take-back collections for portable batteries.

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