Household battery recycling

Posted on: Sat, 08/27/2005 - 02:27 By: Tom Swiss
I hate throwing stuff away. Sustainability - i.e., the long term future of the human race - requires that we are able to recycle, reuse, or return to nature (compost or burn in a closed carbon cycle) just about everything we make. Being a techo-geek, the non-recyclable nature of most electronic gear nags at me.

Fortunately, things are getting better. Electronics recycling is starting, slowly, to gather momentum, though it's still something that is woefully underfunded and publicized given the toxic nature of electronics waste.

And recently I've found a service that recycles household batteries, including Ni-Cads, alkalines, and even small sealed lead-acid batteries. Yes, you have to ship them a box of batteries, and yes you have to pay them 85 cents a pound, but you know it is The Right Thing To Do. So do it.

BTW, new charger technology allows alkaline batteries to be recharged (Google for "alkaline battery recharger".)

While NiMH batteries are generally much superior in terms of lifetime charging cycle (by a factor of ten or so), they self-discharge at a much faster rate; so for intermittent use, or for safety systems, alkalines are still often a better choice. So maximize them with the new generations of chargers, and recycle them when they can no longer take a charge.

Tom Swiss - proprietor,