Three Tips for Choosing Rechargeable vs. Single-Use Batteries

eiodotcom —  April 27, 2012 — 3 Comments

In honor of Earth Day, Eio will focus on the “R” of REUSE in the “reduce-reuse-recycle” dictum. Today’s topic is rechargeable batteries, such as our popular 4-pack of Lenmar 2700mAh AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries.

Rechargeable batteries seem more ecological and economical than single-use batteries, but are they? Here are three useful points to think through when choosing rechargeable versus single-use batteries.

Life-Span

How do rechargeable batteries’ lifespans compare to single-use ones?

While it is difficult to quantify how many hours a battery lasts, most modern-day rechargeable batteries’ lifespans contain around 150 recharges. Single-use batteries, of course, die once they run out. But their lifespans all depends on variables such as the type of battery used and the rate at which a device consumes power.

Costs

Are rechargeable batteries’ longer lifespans worth it despite their high costs?

Rechargeable batteries may be pricier at the outset, but they are thought to save users money over the life of each battery. One downside is that rechargeable batteries and their accompanying chargers can sometimes be more difficult to find. If say, you buy the aforementioned Lenmar battery and battery charger, it is possible you may be unable to replace these items because less-popular products sometimes get discontinued.  Single-use batteries, on the other hand, are available everywhere and come in most sizes.

Waste

How do rechargeable batteries help the environment compared to single-use ones?

Rechargeable batteries do help reduce the amount of waste generated by single-use batteries, which hit 180,000 tons in 2010. However, if one does not recycle rechargeable batteries once they die, contamination is much more likely because they contain heavy metals that some single-use batteries do not possess.

The general rule-of-thumb is to recycle ALL batteries, whether they are rechargeable or not.

Go here for SoCal battery-recycling centers. Go here to mail in your batteries to be properly recycled. Visit Call2Recycle.org for all your recycling needs.

A Final Thought

We would love to give you a definite answer of “rechargeables YES, single-use NO!” But much depends on where you’ll use the battery and how much power the device uses.

Jennifer Berry, over at Earth911.com says this:

So, what are you going to use? Is it a high-tech gadget that needs portable power on a regular basis? Then rechargeables are for you…

[But] rechargeable batteries aren’t necessary for low-cost products that don’t use much power. For example, TV remote controls can sometimes last for years on a single-use battery, so it doesn’t make sense to purchase more expensive rechargeable batteries for such a low maintenance device.”

In sum, when choosing which battery is a better choice, it all depends. Yes, rechargeables may seem cheaper in the long-run, but it all depends on what type of gadget the battery is for.

And in all things, please recycle your batteries correctly. Our future will thank you for that one small gesture.

See also:

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