We live in a battery world. For all the effort we put in to stock Beckett up with toys that are electronics-free and made from natural materials, like wood, fabric and bamboo, the batteries are alive and well in our house. The vacuum cleaner that mimics our adult-size plug-in model runs on a seemingly crazy amount of batteries. The remotes for the television require batteries. The cordless phone, digital camera, cell phone, power drill, smoke detector and hybrid car all need batteries. Then there’s the baby stuff for the little one who is on the way – the monitor, turtle nightlight and digital thermometer. It’s neverending.
Before starting this project, we bought batteries in industrial packs from the warehouse store. It was a no-brainer because the price was a literal savings of 80% over the individual packs and what happened to the batteries after they were used up wasn’t given a thought. After they were used up, they went straight into garbage and then disappeared with the garbage man as far as I was concerned.
Not so much. The batteries actually ended up in the landfill and started doing their dirty work. Batteries are filled with a variety of different heavy metals that leach out over time. Ever picked up an old caroded battery with the white fuzzy stuff on it? That’s the insides coming out. In addition to the metals and their acidic components leaching into groundwater and soil, some landfills routinely burn their trash and the incineration process can cause the metals, such as mercury, to vaporize and release into the air.
The European Union made it a law to recycle alkaline batteries and any retailer accepts them for drop-off. The small household batteries, alkaline, that are ubiquitous add up to a huge problem when their annual sales average in the U.S. to ten batteries per person. California is currently the only state that has specific laws pertaining to the disposal of household batteries, including alkaline. The regulations of the California Universal Waste Rules require non-households to dispose of these batteries correctly and waste receptacles are conveniently located throughout the state.
What the Ferry family is doing:
- Working to switch over as many of Beckett’s toys to non-battery operated. Focusing on things that get her mind working and don’t flash and blink with silly songs.
- Trying to find alternatives to the “toys” that Jacob and I have with battery power. Anybody heard of the handcrank television remote? I’d love to get my hands on one of these!
- Properly disposing of all our batteries. We have recycling drop-off locations for wet-cell batteries (ex: automotive batteries) and some of the larger dry-cell batteries (ex: power tool batteries). There are no local household battery recycling options near us, so the ones we do use and need to get rid of are collected and sent home with my dad, Bruce. He lives in California and drives up a few times a year. Back home with him go all the oddball wastes that we can’t dispose of properly in Whatcom County.
- Switching from one-use batteries to rechargeable. We are spending a bit more money on the batteries that are higher end and can sustain multiple rechargings over and over without needing to be disposed of. Rechargable batteries aren’t the perfect solution because they are still batteries, but their lifespan is much longer and they are a readily available substitute when it comes to the products that require batteries.
- http://www.call2recycle.org/ – Database of national drop-off location for recycling “rechargeable” batteries
Ready to try some high-end, cleaner rechargeable batteries from PowerGenix?
PowerGenix manufactures Nickel-Zinc rechargeable batteries that are 100% recyclable. The batteries have the same voltage has a standard alkaline battery can be charged hundreds of times. Their power is specially formulated for high drain situations that can tap out average rechargeable batteries. Nickel and zinc can both be recycled again and again without losing their physical and/or chemical properties.
One lucky Sacred Bee Blog readers will win one of the following:
- NiZn Quick Charger from PowerGenix including 4 (four) AA Batteries
Interested in entering the giveaway? Comment on this post and tell me: What would be the one battery powered item you’d struggle the most to live without?
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Winners will be drawn on Thursday, July 21st at 8:00pm PST.
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