Fun exercise: Take a quick look around the room you are currently in and do a quick tally of the number of devices currently operating on batteries. From wall clocks to remote controls, an endless number of wireless devices are today operated on batteries. When one dies out, another one is replaced in quick succession. However, it pays to pause for a minute to consider the environmental toll that is generated from scores of discarded batteries and whether there is a more sustainable option that can be considered. Shall we take a closer look?
What happens to your batteries after you throw them away?
This is a question that needs to be applied to every single discarded item in our household, but it becomes especially pertinent for single-use batteries as they often play host to an array of toxic minerals. After it is thrown out with the household trash, these batteries often end up at landfills. Over the course of time, the outer casing of the battery is corroded and the volatile chemicals within leach into the soil, from where they can contaminate the groundwater. It has also been observed that the lithium present in batteries can react in a volatile manner when exposed to the air. Sounds worrisome? Now, consider this: It is estimated that 180,000 tonnes of batteries are thrown out every year. Tiny storehouses of volatile chemicals are currently littered around the globe, and it is time we did something about it.
What are rechargeable batteries?
As implied by the name, rechargeable batteries can discharge their load and then be recharged again, thereby dramatically increasing its longevity in your household as compared to a single-use, disposable option. Think of it as an electrical storage device that can be charged again and again. Most rechargeable batteries can last for approximately for 500 to 1,000 charges, meaning that one purchase will safely see you through two, or even three, years when charged adequately.
Which should you choose: Single-use batteries or rechargeable options?
If you were to crunch the numbers, there is one very clear winner that emerges: Rechargeable batteries might cost a bit more, but they can last for up to three years, while single-use options need to be replaced frequently. Thereby, in the end, you will actually end up saving money as one rechargeable battery can be used for 500 to 1,000 charges.
And then, there are the environmental benefits to be considered. Rechargeable batteries are known to consume 23 times lesser non-renewable natural resources. This translates into a significantly lesser impact on global warming, air pollution and water pollution. If you are looking to take a baby step in the right direction, you can start by keeping disposable batteries for low-impact devices, such as smoke alarms, and switch to rechargeable options for heavily-used devices, like remote controls.
Every single day, individual choices like these can help save the planet. Are you ready to contribute your bit?