While Battery World, Planet Ark and Clean up Australia recommend rechargeable as the convenient, cost-efficient, responsible ecological way to go many people have some resistance to rechargeable because of past disappointments with them.
Tom Spence of Battery World, Osborne Park, Western Australia told GoSee the key to get the best from rechargeable batteries is to pick the right product for the job and to understand the correct charging process.
Looking back secondary (rechargeable) batteries were inconvenient because they needed to be charged before they could be used and they did not last as long as the current range of rechargeable options.
Many of this years best selling toys and gadgets are battery operated, and many will chew through loads of batteries during their lifetime, Battery World Battery Recycling Program spokesman Greg Leslie says.
Rechargeable batteries are a responsible choice for powering gadgets as they create less landfill, save resources by reducing battery production and save money over time on replacement batteries. So go green and choose rechargeable batteries and help save the environment.
Planet Ark spokeswoman Rebecca Gilling agrees a rechargeable battery could be reused up to 1000 times.
Mobile phone rechargable options at Battery World
Single use batteries have a greater impact on the environment than rechargeables, she said.
In fact, one study showed that for the same amount of energy produced, rechargeable batteries have up to 32 times less impact on the environment than disposable batteries.
Rechargeables have less impact in terms of global warming potential, use of non-renewable resources, air and water pollution and impact on air acidification. They make great environmental sense and will save you money.
We estimate that after 15 to 20 charges you break even on the cost of your recharger and batteries. After that you are saving money.
Whilst secondary (rechargable) batteries will eventually lose their charge, new technology means that batteries manufactured today can be used up to 1000 times. The rechargeable has come a long way since it entered the marketplace and there are now many variations that are suitable for many different applications.
For example the Sanyo Eneloop available through Battery World stores is a secondary battery that can be recharged up to 1000 times and it does not need to be charged before use. A fully-charged Eneloop battery can maintain about 75 percent of charged power even after three years.
This means that power is available when needed. Solar energy is used for factory pre-charging this product. The new Eneloop batteries are pre-charged in Japan by 'green power' from photovoltaic generation. This means that a part of the electric power used for manufacturing (the amount equivalent used for factory pre-charging) is generated using clean, renewable solar energy.
Look for BW Man to dispose of batteries safely
Planet Ark www.planetark.org says the challenge right now is that although batteries are recyclable, 97 percent (about 8000 tonnes) ends up in landfill. The majority of batteries in landfill are primary batteries that have been used once before disposal.
Australia sends batteries overseas for recycling but the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative is working towards establishing battery recycling facilities in Australia.
Planet Ark says Rechargeable batteries are better for the environment than disposable batteries because they conserve precious resources; they are energy efficient; and, as a result of their energy efficiency lower greenhouse gas emissions.
When Australian households buy and repeatedly use rechargeable instead of disposable batteries, they are reducing their environmental impact by over 90 percent and their cost of using batteries by over 95 percent.
Big savings can be made if disposable batteries are not used. One Australian study says it is possible to save more than 60 times the cost of the charger and rechargeable batteries.(1)
Buying batteries for childrens toys, torches and remote controls can cost a fortune but a Varta rechargeable battery can be re-used up to 1,000 times and it delivers hundreds of times more power, over its lifetime than a disposable battery.
Another Australian study (2) suggests, based on recharging batteries 400 times, that the consumer would save almost $1,000 compared to the equivalent number of disposable batteries required.3
Clean Up Australia says that batteries are the most common form of household hazardous waste.
Hundreds of millions of batteries are imported each year and transported to warehouses, shops, homes and workplaces. In landfill, the chemicals inside batteries can leach from their casings and pollute land and water with heavy metals that are toxic to life.
GoSee asks a Battery World expert
If placed in household recycling, a battery can leach chemicals. One battery can contaminate the contents of a recycling container, Clean Up Australia says. Editors note: Battery World is encouraging Australians to switch over to rechargeable batteries, and to recycle all their used household batteries in store.
Australians spend around $400 million each year on batteries - about $50 per household.
Battery World offers a free, national recycling collection program for all types and brands of batteries, including automotive and boat batteries. Used batteries can be dropped off at any Battery World store for recycling.
For further information on battery recycling and to find your nearest Battery World store visit www.RecyclingNearYou.com.au or call 1300 733 713. Recycling Near You is Australias most comprehensive recycling directory for households.
To find battery recycling options for your work, visit www.BusinessRecycling.com.au
Follow this link to Clean Up Australia: www.cleanup.org.au
Editors Notes: (1) (2) Source - The environmental impact of throw-away versus re-chargeable batteries for consumer use, (2005) Parsons, D. University of Southern Queensland. The environmental impact of disposable versus re-chargeable batteries for consumer use.