Monday, August 4, 2014

Proper Alkaline Battery Disposal [#CTWW]

Somehow, Small Footprints' Change the World Wednesday challenges always come at just the right time. Either I recently accomplish a small green milestone or I am currently struggling with a change. Last week, I decided to update the car emergency kits. I came upon some batteries and decided to do a battery inventory. The battery drawer had some loose batteries. After my husband said that those batteries are mostly dead, I was about to throw them into the trash. Until a little voice inside my head reminded me that I once read about not throwing batteries into the trashcan. Indeed, a quick search revealed that alkaline batteries (the ones I have on hand) are indeed toxic. Alkaline batteries should NOT be thrown into the trash. Alkaline batteries should be disposed of properly, at a location that accepts them.

This week's challenge:

If you are not using rechargeable batteries, please make plans to buy them when you next need batteries. As you replace single-use versions, be sure to recycle them rather than toss them into the trash bin.

OR ...

If you have already made the switch to rechargeable batteries, please find one single-use item in your home and replace it with a reusable version.

As mentioned in Reduce Footprints challenge post, 3 billion single use batteries are sold each year! Most of these batteries end up being thrown out with trash. Batteries degrade over time and leak toxic chemicals into the landfill. These toxic chemicals end up in the water and in the soil. 

After realizing this fact, I looked up recycling facilities for alkaline batteries. We live in a big city, so I hoped for several companies accepting alkaline batteries. Results: one company. Best Buy does have a recycling program, but they do not take alkaline batteries. I emailed the company for a quote for 2 pounds of batteries. Since I had such a small amount, they proposed that if I like their Facebook page and/or write a review, I can drop them off for free. Now, I am wondering if I should save up batteries and do a big disposal once per year. I do not mind paying for the alkaline batteries to be disposed of properly. 

Our battery usage is fairly small. I do not purchase battery operated toys for my son. Any battery-operated toys that are gifted are either exchange, used until batteries run out or are used without batteries. The majority of battery usage is for television remotes, flashlights (seldom used) and for emergency purposes. I do not watch television during the day. Our total television usage is less than 10 hours per week and is mostly watched by my husband when he is home. The remote batteries last for a long time. Either way, we are using batteries and we can be greener about it, especially since they need to be disposed of properly.

After my research and reflection on battery usage in our house, I told myself that I must look into rechargeable batteries. While we do have a few of them already, we are not using them. Last year, I purchased 2 AA USB rechargeable batteries to add to the emergency kit. Though rechargeable batteries are an investment, they have come down in price over the years and they will save me money in the long run. Next shopping trip, purchase rechargeable batteries!

>> Do you use any rechargeable batteries are home?? How??

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