Understanding Basic Battery Pluses and Minuses

When you embrace the use of rechargeable batteries, you respect the three Rs: Reduce, reuse, recycle. When you replace disposable batteries with rechargeable batteries — which are also referred to as cells — you can

✓ Reduce the amount of money you pay from your pocket and reduce the amount of earth's resources required to produce each "one-hit-wonder" battery

✓ Reuse the same rechargeable cell or pack repeatedly, for many months or years

✓ Recycle energy with each reuse, until it's time to retire to a proper recycler the long-life-of-service rechargeable battery

Considering that a single rechargeable battery can be recharged and reused hundreds of times, buying and throwing out ordinary batteries is just plain wasteful — and potentially hazardous if they're improperly disposed of, because of the mercury and other toxins used to produce them.

An estimated 15 billion disposable alkaline batteries are produced and discarded each year.

Find out how to properly dispose of both kinds of batteries at the end of this chapter, in the section "Properly Disposing of Dead Batteries." To find out more about disposing of other gadgets and electronic e-waste, check out Chapter 16.

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