My Rechargeable Batteries Lasted 5 Years, Reduced Toxic Trash

February 23, 2012

In 2007, I bought a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger from All-Battery. This Tenergy TN145 AA/AAA Charger and 8 AA & 8 AAA batteries set is the exact one that I bought for around $28 or so (it’s $27 right now), and up until now I had not bought a single AA or AAA battery since then. And because I had not bought a single battery until I finally had to buy new ones today, I also have not had to dispose of any toxic, dead batteries either. For nearly five years, my kit of rechargeable batteries has saved me money, eliminated a need to buy new batteries, and kept me from contributing to the over 15 billion batteries tossed in landfills each year. All for a whopping $28. If I were to buy new batteries every time I needed them I would have spent much more than that each year, not just once five years ago.

Everyone uses batteries around the house; remote controls, smoke detectors, wireless keyboards and mice, and alarm clocks all need fresh batteries on a regular basis to perform optimally. Why continue to purchase single-use batteries every month or so when you can buy rechargeable batteries that, if my experience is any proof, can last five years before needing replacing? Sure, $20 or $30 seems like a lot to spend on batteries all at once, but if you don’t have to buy them for years after that, it is a worthy investment. Besides, next time you need batteries you don’t have to buy the charger; you already have one!

Today I bought this set of 16 AA and AAA batteries for just $16.99. That’s about $1.00 per rechargeable battery, about the same price you would pay at the store for single-use batteries. If this set lasts me five years again, that’s an average of just $3.39 per year spent on batteries. Households using the same number of disposable batteries as I use rechargeables are likely to spend much, much more on their batteries than I do.

rechargeable batteries

It’s important to be concerned about our battery use because batteries are full of toxic heavy metals, which when thrown into landfills slowly leach into the soil and groundwater. Those metals include mercury, cadmium, and lead, all of which are dangerous for us to ingest or breathe in. By reducing the amount of new batteries we purchase and throw away each year, we reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in our environment. While it’s true that many people responsibly recycle their used-up batteries, most people don’t, and those batteries end up hanging around underground for years. Whether you use disposables or rechargeables, it is vital to always recycle your batteries when you are done with them. Check Earth 911 for information on recycling in your area.

If you have been hesitant to purchase rechargeable batteries because of past performance issues they once had, I hope you will consider it once again. Today’s rechargeables are inexpensive, work just as well as disposable ones, and last a very long time. As I mentioned I get mine from All-Battery and can recommend them, but rechargeables are also available on Amazon.com and almost anywhere you buy disposable ones as well. So be on the lookout next time you are at your favorite store and pick up a battery kit; your wallet and the planet thanks you!

Green PolkaDot Box
Filed in: Responsible

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (7)

  1. Becky says:

    Very cool! We have had terrible luck with rechargeable batteries. Any tips on how to make them last?

    • David says:

      I didn’t do anything special with them, really! I just used them normally until they ran out of juice, charged them back up, and put them back in the device I needed them in. I know there are certain things you can do to help rechargeables last longer, but I didn’t do any of them :)

  2. brian says:

    just wondering, but I notice that you didn’t include the cost of using electricity to recharge them. How does that factor into the lifetime cost?

    • David says:

      Since I only use my charger about once a month for maybe an hour or hour and a half, it’s negligible in comparison to cost and environmental damage.