Environmental Tip: A Use For Dead? Batteries

by Joel on March 27, 2007

As can be seen from Richard’s frequent posts on environmental concerns, particularly global warming, there is the “big picture” in needing to address the greatest pollution causes. Yet, the “small” items figure in as well.

During the eight days without power in January, a great many batteries, particularly alkalines, were used and thrown away when the bunny stopped beating the drum. I saved my “spent” batteries — more than one hundred of them — that would no longer run tape recorders, regular flashlights, portable radios and a portable TV, for instance. My plan was to take them for safe or safer disposal as opposed to them simply filling a trash dump. Then the thought occurred to me that I had a couple of LED flashlights that run much longer and produce a brighter light than regular flashlights. I wondered if there was still enough juice in the batteries to run the LED flashlights, particularly the smaller ones with one to three LED’s. Sure enough, the batteries that in the past I would have regarded as spent and useless will still power these LED flashlights for a good bit.

Since the experience with the power outage, I have mostly switched to using rechargeables, so I hope that I don’t need to worry as often about “dead” battery disposal. Many of the modern rechargeables, particularly the newer NIMH batteries, don’t lose their charge as fast as they used to, so they are useful for more than just digital cameras and other small electronics. However, on those occasions where I am still left with disposable batteries, I’m going to try them out in an LED flashlight or lantern before I give up on them as no longer useful.

The words of Ann Coulter were very harsh: “I take the Biblical idea. God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God says, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’” For me, though, it isn’t enough to condemn her views. Instead, “Grant, O Lord, that what has been said with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and what we believe in our hearts we may practice in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (Attributed to John Hunter, Scotland, 19th century.)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }


john Cooper 03.27.07 at 6:16 pm

Slighty up the power scale from LEDs, but still the same concept - I use my rechargeables (very good big ones!) from my Digital Camera in my Portable Digital Radio once the camera refuses to recognise them and get a good few days listening out them as well - I always feel I am getting two for the price of one.



TJ 03.27.07 at 6:20 pm

In this fair city, we can actually take our ‘dead’ batteries for recycling (http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=14876).


Richard 03.27.07 at 7:18 pm

You’re right Joel, doing the little stuff is important. And the more you can get out of those alkaline batteries before they go for recycling, the better. (I believe it is possible to buy a clever charger that will rejuvenate alkaline batteries a few times, though i haven’t tried one) Rechargeable batteries are probably more cost effective in the long run, though unless you’ve got a solar charger, they’re going to let you down in an extended power cut.
Thanks for the tip. Well worth a try.

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