In this day and age, many everyday products that we use run on batteries. Even with newer battery technology and shelf life, regular (top up likee) batteries still don’t last very long before being thrown away. The vision of the amount of batteries ending up in landfills, which is where the majority of them end up even with much of the take-back programs, fills me with regret. By taking small steps, we can all make a difference on the amount of hazardous household waste that ends up in our nation’s landfills.
The hazardous waste that batteries produce when being thrown into the trash can contribute to pollution of lakes and streams, heavy meal leaching, and environmental lead and acid exposure, to name just a few. This is why I chose to go the route of rechargeable batteries.
There are a number of really long lasting, slow discharging rechargeable batteries on the market. I have many devices, from television remote controls to headlamps to cameras, which use rechargeable batteries. I have a portable recharging device that utilizes two different charging sources: 12-volt supply (as in a car, truck, or boat) and 110/220 volt household plug. This makes it convenient to use for traveling as well as car camping. The most common-sized battery types are AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volts, and this particular charger accepts both AA and AAA, which are the sizes I use most.
Even though rechargeable batteries do end up needing to be replaced eventually, often times you can recharge a rechargeable battery hundreds of times. On average, Americans purchase almost 3 billion dry-cell batteries each year; this figure doesn’t account for batteries used in vehicles. And on average, each person will dispose of 8 batteries per year. Now that doesn’t sound like a lot, individually, but consider that the city of San Francisco, CA has more than 800.000 people living in it. If every single person threw away just 8 batteries per year, that would total more than 6 million batteries just for that one city in one year. That’s a daunting visual.
There are other steps we as consumers can take to reduce the number of batteries ending up in landfills across the country such as recycling. Rechargeable household batteries can be recycled in more and more places: click here to find out your nearest recycling location.