Batteries are almost as essential as electricity in today’s world of all things high-tech and portable. Most things that use electricity can be battery-powered.

So what is the best way to use and dispose of batteries?

Battery Usage 

The device being used will always indicate what type of battery will be needed. Before inserting a battery into an electronic device, make sure the battery and battery compartment are clean by using a cloth or pencil eraser on the ends of the battery and where they will be placed.

Next, one needs to make sure the batteries are placed properly into the compartment. The (+) and (-) terminals need to be aligned properly. To lengthen the battery-life, always turn-off the electronic device when it is not in use.

It is recommended with rechargable devices that one cycle the battery to help ensure the best performance. These devices can include laptops, cell phones, digital cameras, etc. To do this, one simply has to run the battery until it is completely dead, fully recharge it, and repeat. It is not suggested that one keep a rechargeable electronic device plugged in past the time needed to recharge because doing so can shorten the battery lifespan.

Items that are used often, like an LED flashlight, use materials that are long-lasting. The LED light is a hero in the electronics world as it is used in several different devices. An LED is basically a small light that does not have a filament that will burn out or get hot, and works well with batteries because they don’t drain them as quickly. LED technology can now be found in many outdoor products and household items.

Battery Storage 

When storing batteries, keep them in a dry location at or slightly below room temperature. Batteries should not be kept in a place that is warm as heat or extreme temperatures will reduce the quality of how they perform. Battery-operated items need to have good airflow and need to be kept cool; such is the case with laptops. Keeping a battery cool while it is in use will help lengthen the time one will be able to use it.

If one only needs to use a particular battery-powered device once in a while, like with camping or seasonal equipment, take the batteries out of the device and reinstall them the next time the item is used.

Battery Types 

Household batteries can be broken down into three categories in terms of environmental friendliness: the good, the bad, and the rechargable (which are also good).

The Good: Batteries made of oxyride or alkaline are a good option for those who do not want to spend the money on rechargable batteries and a battery charger. Oxyride batteries generally last longer than alkaline batteries, but are also a bit more expensive. “High-drain” alkalines are available at most grocery stores for devices that use a lot of battery power, like digital cameras.

The Bad: NiCAD, rechargable alkaline, and lithium. NiCAD batteries are considered obsolete and have now been replaced by NiMH batteries, which are not toxic and last longer. Rechargable alkaline batteries cannot be recharged as many times as regular rechargable batteries can and do not work well in high-drain devices. Lithium batteries are marketed as the batteries of the gods because they are a long-lasting battery, but they cannot be recharged (unlike lithium ion batteries) and are toxic.

The Rechargeable: Nickle-metal hydride (NiMH) have replaced NiCADs as they lost longer. Rechargable batteries are a good option for devices that are used often, like remote controls. However, rechargables can sometimes die after a few months of use/non-use. Therefore, rechargables should never be used for items like flashlights or smoke alarms.

Battery Disposal 

Any type of rechargable battery should be disposed of at a recycling center. These batteries include AAs, AAAs, cell phone batteries, laptop batteries, etc. Recycling centers have the means of disposing these types of batteries in an manner that will not leak the toxic chemicals into the enviroment. Other batteries to take a waste or recycle center include button batteries, lithium or lithium ion batteries, Ni-Cd, Ni-Li/Ni-hydride, sealed lead acid batteries, and silver oxide batteries. Oxyride or alkaline batteries can be disposed of with one’s household trash.

In today’s green world, reusing and recycling is more important than ever for one’s pocket book and the health of planet in which we live.