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Natural Awakenings

Disposable Habit: Choose Rechargeable Batteries Instead

Nov 01, 2009 02:00AM

Americans buy about 3 billion household batteries a year (about 10 per person), according to the Environmental Protection Agency—and nearly all end up in landfills. Unlike disposable alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries can be reused hundreds of times, saving money and resources, while reducing pollution associated with their manufacture and transport. A study by battery manufacturer UNIROSS estimates that using a disposable battery to create 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity has a greenhouse gas effect equal to driving a car 283 miles; using a rechargeable battery is equivalent to driving 10 miles.

Other tips to ensure a greener habit: Choose an Energy Star-rated or solar-powered charger; select an energy-smart charger that shuts off when batteries are fully charged (overcharging shortens battery life); unplug the charger when not in use; don’t leave batteries uncharged or unused for long periods (also shortens their life); remove batteries from infrequently used devices and store away from heat and moisture; and recycle, or dispose of batteries properly as municipal hazardous waste.

Locate nearby retailers that recycle batteries at

Sources: and

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