Daylight Saving Time is November 6. This is a great time to check your smoke alarm batteries, and remember to recycle them. This year, why not take it a step further? It might be time to rethink the use of batteries.
Batteries power our wireless lives, freeing us from electrical outlets. But that compact bundle of energy contains chemicals hazardous to our health if they are not disposed of properly. Cadmium, cobalt and lead leach out of batteries in landfills, poisoning the soil and water and eventually make their way to our bodies.
Our wireless lives require that we make conscious and informed decisions about battery-powered devices, and that we make sure to properly recycle dead batteries. About 250 million pounds of batteries in the U.S. end up in landfills. We can do better!
Reduce the batteries you use
We can reduce the number of batteries that get consumed in the first place, saving the resources and chemicals that are needed to make them.
Of course, there are times when we have to use a product powered by batteries. But there are times when we can make a choice to buy a product that does not need a battery, like a toy or greeting card.
We are encouraged by toy companies to purchase flashy toys for children. How many times are children just as happy with paper and crayons and their own creativity? Toys that encourage more creativity — and that don’t rely on batteries — can be an investment in a child’s development. You can decide what a greeting card says instead of relying on a battery-powered song.
The holidays are coming, making it a great time to rethink purchases and commit to green decisions.
Reuse the batteries you use
Rechargeable batteries can be recharged hundreds of times. It takes a small initial investment for a battery charger that can recharge batteries them up to 1,000 times! Rechargeable batteries are a much cheaper solution in the long run than one-time-use batteries. Be sure to recycle them like you would any other battery so those resources can go into new batteries.
Recycle the batteries you use
There are a number of options for recycling batteries in Hennepin County.
- Minneapolis residents can place batteries in a clear plastic bag and place the bag on top of your recycling cart for pickup. Remember: do NOT put any batteries in the garbage cart. http://bit.ly/WhatToDoBatteryRecycling
- Batteries of all types can be dropped off at libraries and other locations around Hennepin County. www.hennepin.us/batteryrecycling
Call2Recycle has over 50 locations to recycle batteries in the metro area: https://www.call2recycle.org/locator
TechDump is a local non-profit that recycles electronics for free or a small fee (which is tax-deductible), including batteries. They also certify that their recycling process is safe and sustainable. http://www.techdump.org/free-battery-recycling-mn
—Information from Hennepin County Environment and Energy