July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Don’t assault Earth with batteries

When I shopped for Christmas presents for my niece and nephew last month, I realized it was getting difficult to find a toy or game that didn’t require batteries.

It’s frustrating to depend on all these batteries for things we don’t really need and then throw them away soon after. Granted, they do save valuable energy, which is important. A laptop, for example, uses 1 percent of the energy (when running on battery) of a desktop computer.

The problem occurs when those batteries lose their juice — how do you keep them from being an environmental hazard when they’re thrown out?

The first step is to reduce the amount of batteries you throw away. Go through all the new holiday gadgets and replace the alkaline batteries with rechargeable NiCd, NiMH or Lithium-ion batteries (check with the manufacturer for which ones are compatible).

Not only will these save you money over the long run, but they will prevent you from throwing away one-use batteries that have the potential to leak chemicals harmful to the environment. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the smoke detector, digital camera, clocks and remote controls, and replace those batteries too.

Second, make sure you discharge those NiCd or NiMH batteries completely before recharging. If they’re only partially depleted, recharging could damage the batteries and prevent them from holding on to a longer lifespan.

And finally, when you do need to dispose of your batteries, take them to a place that will recycle them instead of just tossing them into the trash.

The Medina County Central Processing Facility, 8700 Lake Road, Westfield Township, accepts lead-acid batteries (automobile, tractor and lawn mower batteries) as well as household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, camcorder, hearing aid, lithium, alkaline, button, laptop and NiCd). Its hours are 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to noon Saturday.

For more information on recycling batteries, go to www.rbrc.org or www.batteryrecycling.com.

Winn may be reached at kwinn@ohio.net or 330-721-4053.