SAN ANTONIO – Meghan Patterson and her family made the switch to rechargeable batteries.
“With kids’ toys, we go through batteries all the time,” she said. “Now, I don’t feel guilty about it.”
Both rechargeable and single-use batteries contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals that can pollute the environment. They both require water and energy in the manufacturing process and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
But, a 2016 study in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment found that rechargeable batteries are more sustainable than disposables after you’ve used them at least 50 times, something that shouldn’t be a problem for many families.
Consumer Reports says a great place to use rechargeables is toys and wireless computer mice because the batteries usually draw a lot of power over a short period of time.
Be sure to buy a charger that can accommodate the various sizes of rechargeable batteries you’ll be using.
As for disposable batteries, Consumer Reports says they hold a charge longer and are best for things like smoke detectors and emergency tools like flashlights. They’re designed to have a slow discharge for those types of items that you need quickly.
Rechargeable batteries can cost twice as much as single-use batteries. However, because you can recharge them about 1,000 times, depending on brand, they can be the money-saving deal in a matter of a couple of years – especially if you use a lot of batteries.
All batteries eventually die. To keep toxic chemicals out of the environment, there are many places where you can recycle them. To find locations, check Earth911.com or RecycleNation.com.
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