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Difficulty recycling household alkaline batteries, so let's discuss rechargeables!

Duracelld150_2 We've written about recycling household alkaline batteries before and have referred you to the Earth911 site for locations in your area. But one of our readers emailed us saying that she's hit some dead-ends from that site: most of the national chains (AT & T, Staples, Radio Shack, etc.) listed on Earth911 will only accept rechargable batteries or cell phone batteries. Personally, I've never taken in my very small, albeit growing box of alkaline batteries to be recycled. I'm waiting for my next trip to Portland's Hazardous Waste Facility, which takes them. Radio Shack used to take alkaline batteries, but now they only accept rechargables. I called the Office Depot in downtown Portland and they will take them, but the one in Clackamas will not. So it's kind of a crapshoot. So if you use the Earth911 site to find locations, make sure to call ahead and verify the type of batteries they will accept. I think most IKEA stores will accept them, but again, I'd call first.

So why hasn't my family switched over to rechargable batteries? Oooh, what's that tingling sensation? Oh, yeah. I do believe I feel a baby step coming on...

One thing I've noticed is that our family seems to be using fewer batteries in general. Now that the kids have grown out of those annoying, battery-powered plastic baby toys with the lights and the beeps and the infernal music, they hardly ever need batteries. However, there are exceptions: my daughter's digital camera eats batteries, and oh how she loves to play "let's make a movie!" with it. My son has a Thomas train that runs on a AAA battery, and I swear that thing sips the acid when it's parked at the station. Then there's the Wii remote, the TV remote and flashlight batteries. Granted, these batteries don't need changing that often, but over the long-term you can see how using rechargables could not only save a ton of money, but also reduce the need to manufacture these little disposable carbon monsters.

I'm taking a look at this battery charger right now for $39.99. Once you buy all the rechargeable batteries you need, you're probably looking at spending $100 to get set up. Sounds like a lot (particularly right now when no one wants to spend any money), but again, you have to think long-term. This pack of four AA rechargeable batteries costs $9.99 and claims to last four times as long as alkaline batteries, which would cost around $4 at the grocery store for a four-pack. A savings no-brainer.

Do you use a lot of batteries? Have you made the switch to rechargable batteries? Are there some types or brands that last longer than others? Have you found a battery charger that you really love (or one that should be avoided)?

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