Rechargeable Batteries

 

Save money AND protect the environment – Power your toys and electronics with rechargeable batteries!

 

Rechargable BatteriesBatteries are banned from landfills in California and must be recycled or handled as hazardous waste because they contain corrosive materials and heavy metals.  Click here for a list of Napa County’s battery recycling locations.

 

Rechargeable batteries can last for years. Although the batteries initially cost slightly more and require a low-cost investment in a battery charger, they can then be recharged hundreds of times, greatly reducing disposal requirements. Compare that to the cost of continually buying disposable batteries. Even better, rechargeable batteries’ performance is superior to disposable batteries for many uses.

 

Rechargeable batteries have improved dramatically over the past few years.  Now there are several different kinds, each providing a best match for various types of uses.

• NiMH (Nickel-Metal-Hydride) Rechargeable Batteries – The most versatile, they are also environmentally preferable because they do not include toxic heavy metals. Available in standard household battery sizes (AAA, AA, C, D, 9-volt), long-lasting and with virtually no “memory loss,” NiMH batteries are good choices for most household uses and many office needs. Use them for toys, portable music players, remote controls, electronic games, clocks, radios, regular flashlights, wireless mice/keyboards, telephone headsets, GPS units, non-emergency communications, dispensers and faucets with automatic sensors, and much more.

“High capacity” NiMH batteries are excellent choices for digital cameras and other high power drain electronics because they last longer than alkaline batteries and can be recharged hundreds of times.

Most NiMH batteries need to be charged before first use although the “low self-discharge” NiMH version is precharged and ready to use immediately.

• NiCD (Nickel-Cadmium) Rechargeable Batteries – Cadmium is a heavy metal that presents environmental hazards. However, NiCD rechargeable batteries produce an initial high rate of discharge (before slowly dropping off), making them a good choice for power tools. They also maintain their strength better in cold weather, making them recommended for outdoor uses and solar lights. NiCD batteries must be fully discharged regularly before recharging to avoid appearing to “lose memory.” They are not recommended for digital cameras.

 

Do Not Use household-size rechargeable batteries in emergency equipment (flashlights, radios, emergency medical devices, smoke detectors, monitors) or in difficult-to-access areas. It is easier to monitor the remaining voltage in disposable alkaline batteries because it drops at a predictable rate while they are in use, but the power in a rechargeable battery remains steady until nearly completely discharged and then drops precipitously.

 

Recharging Equipment – Critical! Match recharging equipment to the specific types of batteries used. Use an NiMH recharger for NiMH batteries, and match the correct size (e.g., AA, C, D, 9-volt). Look for “smart chargers” that automatically stop charging when batteries are full and switch to “trickle charge” to keep batteries fully charged before use.

 

Recycling – Many Napa County retail outlets provide free recycling for spent rechargeable batteries. Check for local sites in your zip code at www.call2recycle.org, and view our online list at www.naparecycling.com/batteries.  City of Napa customers can also recycle batteries with the Recycle More program.

 

More Information On Rechargeable Batteries:
StopWaste (Alameda County) – http://www.stopwaste.org/docs/rechargeable_batteries.pdf
CalRecycle (State of California) – http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/ReduceWaste/power/rechbattinfo.htm

 

Good Choices for Household-Size Rechargeable Batteries

Use NiMH For: Use NiCD For: Do Not Use For:
Toys                                    Wireless MiceRemote Controls                 Telephone HeadsetsClocks, Radios                    Wireless KeyboardsPortable Music Players       Regular Flashlights

Electronic Games                GPS units

Walkie-Talkies (non-emergency)

Automatic Sensors for Dispensers/Faucets

 

“High Capacity” NiMH batteries are excellent for digital cameras and high power drain electronics

Power Tools

Outdoor Lighting

 

Many products come with sealed NiCD rechargeable batteries.

Emergency FlashlightsEmergency RadiosEmergency Medical DevicesEmergency Communications

Smoke Detectors

Monitors

 

(The power remaining in rechargeables is hard to monitor because it remains steady until empty, then drops off precipitously.)

Rechargers: Match the recharger to the specific type and size of battery. For example, use only NiMH batteries in a NiMH charger, and match the battery size (e.g., AA, C, D) to the recharging compartment.