It’s all too easy. Grab a package of Duracell or Energizer AA’s at the checkout. They’re only a few dollars. You need them for your radio or flashlight, and they say on the package that they’re good for 5-10 years.
Good deal, right?
The numbers are staggering… the US sends over 3 billion small consumer batteries like these to landfills each year. There’s small traces of mercury in most of those batteries. Especially the really cheap ones from the dollar store. This amounts to massive toxic waste!
What’s the alternative?
Rechargeable NiMh batteries!
What’s that you say? They’re terrible? They’re never charged when you need them? They self-discharge over a few weeks in the drawer, so you can’t rely on them?
They’re expensive? And such a hassle to charge?
Well, I’m happy to tell you that times have changed. The new generation of NiMh rechargeables has been on the market for several years now, and work great. Low-self-discharge means that brands like PowerEx, & Eneloop will hold their charge like a lithium battery does. Around 85% after a year. So when you reach for that flashlight this winter, it will have power.
Keep a charger on your counter top, and you’re all set.
If the toxic sludge seeping into your groundwater isn’t reason enough, here are a few numbers to illustrate why you will want to make the switch to rechargeable NiMh batteries today…
(At time of writing, Canadian Tire had a 30-pack on sale for $14, so I will use this ‘great deal’ in this calculation)
Eveready Max : $0.46 each
To match the capacity of the rechargeables (6,240 WHrs) would require 1,600 batteries
1,600 x $0.46 = $736 (Canadian Dollars)
So, the real cost of those alkaline AA’s at the checkout, not including hazardous landfill clean-up by your children & grandchildren, is actually close to 10x the cost of purchasing just 4 of today’s NiMh rechargeables.
Gee whiz, at that rate, buy 8 PowerEx PreCharged AA’s and keep them in a charging rotation so you always have enough power available for your flashlights & radios.
I should also mention that the NiMh chemistry is not nearly as toxic as alkaline. When they do reach the end of their useful life, they can be recycled via many available programs & recycling depots (Staples & other shops have collection bins).
I hope you are inspired to start, or hopefully keep making, the right decision regarding throw-away batteries. Leave them at the checkout, and maybe the chemical companies who want to keep selling their crap will get the message… it’s the 21st century. Moving on.