Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Battle of the Batteries

Batteries! I hate them! I can never find one when I need one, they cost a fortune and my charger for the rechargeable ones gave up the ghost ages ago.

Batteries are dangerous. Depending on the kind of battery you use, they contain zinc, mercury and all sorts of nasties that leak out and get into the environment, damaging wildlife and ecosystems.

Around 30,000 tonnes of general purpose batteries thrown away every year but only about 2% of them are ever recycled. Apart from the leakage, that’s a lot of waste that has to be put somewhere.

I very rarely bought my children toys that needed batteries, and would ask others not to buy them for them either but eventually decided to go one step further by trying to avoid anything that I have to use batteries in. In the cases where it’s unavoidable, I look for products that have rechargeable batteries (like cameras, for example). As a last resort, I’d use my own rechargables but since my charger died on me a year or so ago, because I use so few batteries, I haven’t yet needed to buy a new one. However, if you use a lot of batteries, there's a gadget available now that let's you recharge throw away batteries. To find out more, click here.

I don’t have a personal CD player and I haven't used my mp3 player for several years. I have no hand-held games console (or any games console for that matter), a battery driven handbag sized hair dryer or any other unnecessary battery driven gadgets but I do have a torch. It's not particularly reliable though so I'm on the look out for a decent wind up version. Oh... hold on... the wall clock has a battery in it. It’s only been changed once in five years though so it’s not exactly making me a big battery consumer. No doubt there are other things but the batteries are changed so seldom that I can't even think what they might be! Except for the remote controls, that is. They drive me up the wall so I really must put a multi-purpose remote (or whatever they're called) on my wish list and maybe somebody will buy it me for Christmas (note to close friends and family: big hint dropped there).

Now that I have the battery problem more or less sorted, I really need to sharpen up and stop leaving my mobile phone charger in the socket. Either that or I need to buy a new extension lead with individual switches.

Sharon J xx

Confession time: I did once have a multi-function remote control but I threw it in temper and... well, suffice to say, it no longer works.


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The eldest daugher! :) said...

Ahh, so that's what happened to it! :)

Have the same problem with batteries myself, and keep the old ones in a jar, but hey... where do i go to recycle them? I know where to put paper, metal, class, light bulbs (mind you, they really should be put somewhere much safer as in the container the smash and release gasses that are again not good for the environment)...

Thought back to batteries... Fed up with the same as you, not knowing where there are batteries, and keep trying them to find that only one of ten still has some charge on it... So I've stopped using desposable batteries. only rechargable ones, and have a place for "ready charged" and "needs charging" so I always know! lol I always have something in need of battery changing about once a week, so i swear by my rechargable ones! :)

Anonymous said...

i'm really bad for batteries.. for one reason. my hearing aids. I have no idea if the batteries are recyclable. i should find out i suppose...

I do use rechargeables for my camera, my MP3 player is like a phone - you plug it in to recharge it - and i use rechargeables for the remotes. The one i don't use rechargeables for is my wireless mouse, but that's because it doesn't get on with rechargeables, and, to be honest, that mouse is on the blink anyway, so we're looking at replacing it soon (and it won't be wireless when we do).

something to think about!

Debi said...

We have a solar-powered torch which we leave on the car dashboard and is far more effective than any other torch we've ever had.

The solar wotsits on our radio work less well but it has (is?) a wind-up.

I bought a charger for reusables but the damn batteries have disappeared. Probably lurking in some dust-gathering gadget somewhere. Grrr.

emmani said...

I'm pretty much the same as you Sharon, I hate silly gadgets... so not many batteries bought by me. We have a wall clock, remote control and a few toys, (all toys are officially Grandpa territory, the gadget/battery king himself!) If I need a battery replaced I go to the king! I did buy a battery charger for the ipod for a quid for traveling, haven't used it yet! The main battery eater for us is a mini set of speakers we use traveling, 4 at a time and they last a few hours!!

I think I might need my own battery recharging with a gin and tonic right now!

Sharon J said...

@ my eldest daughter. Yepp. The cat's out of the bag now :)

I must say I'm impressed at how organised you've become - keeping them in different places is a good idea.

@ Kethry. Being as you NEED your hearing aid, the battery use for that is acceptable and forgivable. It's all those unnecessary battery using gadgets that are bad for the environment.

@ Debi. I love the idea of wind-up radio, especially for camping and the likes. I'd really love a wind-up torch - Richard's dad's had one for years and it's great. I must get one (keep saying that but never get round to it - I'll regret it next time the electric goes).

@ Emmani. Four at a time?!! Wow! That's a lot of battery power just for some music. I had a portable CD player that ate batteries like mad too - now I have no portable CD player and don't miss it.

Anonymous said...

Sharon - use of batteries for the hearing aid is forgiveable.. yes. but not even finding out if they're rechargeable/recyclable isn't! Something to do when i get back from B'ham, methinks.. :)

Sharon J said...

I'm saying nothing ;)