Whether you have one in your watch, cell phone, wall clock or TV remote, a collection of batteries of all shapes and sizes is at work in your home.
This month Betty provides the 411 on battery use and disposal.
The average American throws away eight household batteries per year, which some say is fine for landfills, but considering all batteries contain heavy metals, the truth is they should be recycled. The acid can be reused and the rest is melted down to scrap metal or converted to a new battery, making them 100 percent recyclable.
Rule of thumb for alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, D, etc.): In low-tech items (remote controls and smoke detectors), single use are a better choice because they drain slowly and last longer. For high-tech items, definitely use rechargeables.
Prolonging battery life
. Do not return a fully charged battery to the charger.
. Let discharged battery cool to room temp before recharging.
. Recharge batteries when almost fully discharged.
. Don't leave them charging for prolonged periods.
. Refrigerating batteries extends their shelf life (but let batteries
reach room temperature before using).
For household rechargeables and NiCad (nickel cadmium), try Batteries Plus, Staples and Best Buy, since McIntire no longer accepts them. Most cell phone retailers take phone batteries (made of lithium ion) for recycling. Lead acid-filled car batteries can be recycled at Auto Zone or other auto retailers. Button cell batteries (found in wall clocks and wristwatches) contain silver oxide and therefore are designated hazardous waste and legally cannot be trashed, so wait for the next household hazardous waste day. For more battery information and locations call 1-877-2-RECYCLE (www.call2recycle.org).