‘Battery Life’   Leave a comment


Its said we should “get a life”. Given our indulgence in ‘gadgets’, that often means “buy new batteries”!

Few products in common use today are more harmful to the environment than batteries.  It doesn’t matter if they are ‘A’, ‘C”, ‘D’, ‘double A’, triple ‘A’, or you name it. 

In fact the U.S. alone uses about three billion batteries annually, averaging about 32 per family or ten per person, not counting those little ‘button’ batteries in watches etc. 

Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can and do contaminate the environment.  If they’re burned, some metals are released in the air and fall as ash. In landfills they leach into the ground and contaminate water with lead and acid.  Dry cell batteries contribute about 88 percent of the total mercury and 50 percent of the cadmium in the municipal solid waste streams. 

It might even exceed the damage of  major oil spills, its that bad.  But what is the point of this blog, besides mentioning yet another area of human folly? 

Well, the least we can do besides properly disposing of old batteries, is to personally recycle them.  What I mean by that is ‘re-use’ them. 

Yes indeed I’ve found that its quite possible to extend the life of your average pair of  household dry cell batteries, with no effort required mind you.  “What?”, you say, “how can this be so?!” 

I’ve found that by simply bagging up those old remote control, flashlight, and so many other device, batteries, over-time they will indeed recover sufficiently to make them quite re-useable again.

How long it will take depends on prior use, but after a good number of weeks or months its surprising how many recover a significant amount of their original charge, I’ve found. 

Ironically my discovery was made simply because I hated the idea of throwing them into the garbage as had often been the case before, (shame on me, and probably you also).  So I began hoarding them in a zip-lock baggy hoping for some enlightened recycler to come to the rescue. 

After bagging batteries up for many moons, like several years worth, I decided to give them another go-around in my remote controls and other gadgets.  To my delight and surprise I found that many of them, perhaps as much as 66% were very much good-to-go again.  And I don’t just mean for a few days either, some even seem to last nearly as long as brand new ones!

So the moral of this story is;  if you can’t find the correct recycler, and you’re a little on the ‘cheapskate’ side like me, bag those little beggars up, stuff them away where you will eventually find them again, and you will be somewhat of a blessing to that long-suffering friend of yours and mine… the ‘environment’.


Posted June 27, 2010 by New2view in earth, Environment, resources, science

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