Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day Thirty-Two - Charge It

Switching from Alkaline to Rechargeable Batteries

You would not BELIEVE the number of batteries we go through in this house. It's downright embarrassing. Remote controls, flashlights, wall clocks, walkie-talkies and a whole boatload of toys, toys and more toys. We go through the economy packs of AA's the way Lindsay Lohan goes through tequila. Neither is a pretty sight.

I started saving our dead batteries just 29 days ago and have accumulated 12 AA's and two 9 volts. At that rate, we would burn through (and toss out) over 175 batteries each year. Yuck. To make matters worse, I always used to just toss those puppies right in the trash (these should be taken to your hazardous waste collection site because the acid could leak out into a landfill and possibly leach into the surrounding soil and/or water supply).

Today I made my first purchase of rechargeable NiMH batteries (4 for $9.99) along with a little recharger to, well, charge them ($9.99). Supposedly, this $20 investment will give me the life-use of 2,000 alkaline batteries (500 charges each), which generally cost 4 for $2.95. This makes the cost per use more like $0.004995 (less than half a penny) per rechargeable vs. $0.74 per alkaline. Of course, this does not factor in the cost of the energy required to recharge each battery, but I'd guarantee I'm still coming out ahead. But this isn't about cost savings here, although can I just say "Wow!", this is about saving the planet.

I know, four little batteries will never run all my gadgets and gizmos, but here's my plan of attack. Since I cannot afford to go out and purchase 50+ rechargeable batteries right now, I will purchase them as I do disposables, buying a package every time something runs out of them. At the same time, I will stop purchasing gizmos and gadgets that require batteries. Eventually, the kids will either outgrow or destroy the majority of the toys and by simply refusing to buy more energy-sucking toys, I will reduce my need for battery consumption. Simple? Yes. Will it work? No clue. Have to wait and see.


I am saving 175 alkaline batteries per year from the landfills or, hopefully, from the hazardous waste collection site. If only 2,500 other people like me switched, we could save nearly half a million batteries from being tossed out this year! That's huge and a very, very attainable goal. So, if all 25 of my loyal readers convince ten friends to make the switch, and those ten friends tell 10 friends, we're there, baby!

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

Another easy one -- just changing my buying habits. As old alkalines die out, replace them with rechargeables. The monetary savings will be offset by the initial investment in just a matter of a few charges, so it's not breaking the bank. And, again, in the long range, the rechargeables will net major savings over alkaline.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Great stuff!!

There are some places you're NOT supposed to use rechargeable batteries (like smoke detectors that aren't wired all of ours), but there's a great site that has lots of battery options and tells you how to get the most out of batteries while being green: