For those trying to save money or simply tread more lightly on the earth, there are myriad ways to go about accomplishing those goals. Many tipsters advise to start small by trying to think of little daily habits or buying patterns you can change. And what are some of the smallest yet most useful things in your household that could definitely benefit from a sea change? Household batteries! Think about it. Batteries are everywhere in the household and are used to power almost all of our small devices – from remote controls to console gaming controls to digital cameras to handheld music players and more. In fact, Americans purchase nearly 3 billion dry-cell batteries every year to power radios, toys, cellular phones, watches, laptop computers, and portable power tools. And not only are batteries awfully expensive for something so small, many communities do not have proper recycling facilities in place for all types of batteries and so they can be a real hardship on Mother Nature when it comes time to throw them out. If not properly recycled, the heavy metal contained in batteries can seep into the earth and pollute the air, causing sickness in people who live near those toxic sites. But how do you save money and help Mother Nature when batteries are such a necessary and ubiquitous part of life?
The answer is make a small investment in rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are a little more expensive than regular batteries. You also have to invest in the actual battery recharger (which comes standard with many rechargeable battery starter kits). At first, this may seem like a raw deal when you can simply get a pack of non-rechargeable batteries for a few dollars. But consider the long run. When those batteries run out, you will be right back at the corner store picking up another packet. And, unless your community is progressive about recycling, your old batteries may end up polluting your community by releasing their heavy metals into your local landfill. When you think of the long term effects, rechargeable batteries become the clear choice.
Not only are rechargeable batteries the responsible choice, they have also led to some pretty cool technology. For example, many travelers can now invest in a device called a USB battery charger. This charger does just about exactly what it you would think it does – it plugs into a USB port on your computer and then charges your special rechargeable batteries. When the first USB battery chargers were introduced in the United States at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2006, they were a huge hit.
There was a drawback to USB battery chargers and battery chargers in general, though. They can be extremely slow getting the rechargeable batteries charged up. For example, the two early models introduced at the CES took up to 16 hours to charge two AAA batteries. The technology has come a long way though. Be sure to check out claims about battery charging time on the packaging before you purchase rechargeable batteries.
Battery giants like Energizer and Duracell sell rechargeable batteries. Energizer even got in on the USB battery charger craze. Their newsiest model, the Energizer Duo USB battery charger can charge 2 AAA 900mAh batteries in two hours. This model is also versatile – in a pinch, the Energizer DUO can also get the power to charge your rechargeable batteries up from a standard wall socket. For technology lovers, the Engergizer DUO even offers a computer application that allows you to watch your batteries as they power up in your USB battery charger.