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Battery Basics - Reduce, Recharge and Recycle!

Batteries are used in electronic products we use every day. Being a responsible battery user can help maximize usage, as well as, reduce waste and pollution. This is a guide about battery basics..


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By 0 found this helpful
November 14, 2005

Household batteries include both single-use and rechargeable dry cell batteries used to power toys, cameras, radios, flashlights, hearing aids, and many other portable products. Nearly all households produce waste batteries, in fact, Americans use and discard about 3 billion batteries every year. That adds up to 125,000 tons of battery garbage.

This waste may contain heavy metals that can find their way into the environment if the batteries are not disposed of properly. By reducing battery use, recharging reusable batteries, and recycling, you can cut down on the effect your battery use has on the environment.



Evaluate purchasing battery powered items. Items that require a plug-in or manual operation may work as well or better than battery operated items.

Avoid purchasing batteries containing mercury. Shop for batteries that contain no added mercury.


Reduce overall waste by using rechargeable batteries. Ni-Cd batteries can be recharged and reused up to 1,000 times before you need to replace them and rechargeable alkaline manganese batteries can be reused up to 25 times before needing to be replaced.

Using rechargeable batteries will save you money in the long run. Instead of continuously buying new batteries you'll simply keep recharging the old ones. The initial investment of rechargeable batteries and a charger will quickly pay for itself, as well as generate far less waste.



Rechargeable Ni-Cd and Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries contain nickel, cadmium and/or lead that can be recycled at household hazardous waste collection sites.

Button batteries contain mercury and silver that can be recycled. These batteries should also be brought to a household hazardous waste collection site.

Household Battery Do's:


Household Battery Don'ts:

Battery Type Common Name Common Use Proper Disposal
Alkaline. Manganese Coppertop, Alkaline, Energizer Flashlights, calculators, toys, clocks, smoke alarms, remote controls Place in trash
Button Mercuric Oxide, Silver Oxide, Lithium, Alkaline, Zinc-air Watches, hearing aids, toys, greeting cards, remote control Bring to household hazardous waste collection site
Carbon Zinc "Classic," Heavy Duty, General Purpose, All Purpose, Power Cell Flashlights, calculators, toys, clocks, smoke alarms, remote controls, transistor radios, garage door openers Place in trash
Lithium Usually states "Lithium" on the label Cameras, calculators, computer memory back-up, tennis shoes Place in trash
Nickel-Cadmium (Rechargeable) Usually unlabeled or labeled "Ni-Cd" Flashlights, toys, cellular phones, power tools, computer packs Bring to household hazardous waste collection site
Reusable Alkaline Manganese (Rechargeable) Renewal Flashlights, calculators, toys, clocks, radios, remote controls Place in trash
Sealed Lead Acid (Rechargeable) "Gel," VRB, AGM, Cyclone, Dynasty, El Power, Gates, Lithonia, Saft, Panasonic, Yuasa Video Cameras, power tools, wheelchairs, ATV's cameras, metal detectors, clocks Bring to household hazardous waste collection site

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes


By Linne Dodds (Guest Post)
May 30, 20070 found this helpful
Top Comment

3 ways to save on Batteries .
1.]Wait for Buy 1 get 1 free sales on batteries


2.]Some states have Sales tax amnesty days for Storm Supplies .
3.] Got this Hint from Heloise too many years ago to recall & could never count the Savings .
When devices start to slow down .
Clean the contact points of batteries & the products they go in with an abrasive like an Emery Board[Nail File]
This can work Several times .Saving Money & The Earth .
Sandpaper,Burlap,Terry Cloth,rocks,concrete ,pencil erasers [the pencils can reach way down in devices,even tree bark Works .
I know because I got through a 46 hour Storm Related Power outtage one One Set of Batteries , just by Rubbing them off .

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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