“A little extra money upfront for a quality rechargeable battery can be returned up to 400 times over its lifespan.”
While it’s financially tempting to buy the cheapest type of disposable battery, it is wise to opt for rechargeable, and the planet will thank you for it.
Jared Clark, the Operations Manager of Battery World in the Brisbane suburb or Enoggera, gave us the low down on rechargeable batteries and battery recycling.
“Rechargeable batteries reuse the chemical component of batteries over and over again, creating less waste,” says Jared. “It is financially advantageous over the lifetime of the product. A little bit of extra outlay upfront for a quality rechargeable battery can be returned up to 400 times over its lifespan if the batteries are looked after and used correctly.”
He says the technology behind rechargeable batteries has significantly improved over the last decade.
“Nowadays you can charge batteries, put them back in the cupboard, and pull them out in 12 month’s time with only a 5% loss in power. Under controlled test conditions rechargeable batteries have been proven to last up to 2,000 recharges. While general household use offers different conditions, we have rechargeable batteries in my home that are six years old and still going strong.”
When it comes to using rechargeable batteries, Jared says it’s all about creating good habits and getting into a new rhythm.
Use two old jars to store your batteries. Put a happy face on one jar, and a sad face on the other. This way you’ll always know which batteries are charged and which need to be.
What do I do with my old disposable batteries after I replace them?
Recycle them! Recycling batteries reduces landfill, minimises the amounts of toxic chemicals seeping into the environment, and also reduces the use of finite natural resources in the production of new batteries. Battery recycling also allows for the precious metals within them to be repurposed such as cadmium, lithium, nickel, silver oxide and zinc.
Many Brisbane businesses offer battery recycling points, including most Officeworks and Battery World stores. Once collected in-store the batteries are sorted into chemical types before being shipped overseas for processing. The B-cycle program introduced in 2021 now also provides businesses with new ways to recycle. The program provides opportunities for businesses to find their nearest drop-off point, become a collection point, and for manufacturers to become product stewards for better recycling practices. Learn more about the program at the B-cycle website.
Jared recommends you drop off your waste batteries sooner rather than later. “Instead of filling a shoebox with batteries, fill a small jar. The longer the batteries sit, the more chance they’ll leak and contaminate their surrounds.”
Batteries contain a mixture of toxic components which can leak from their casings. If the batteries are placed in landfill, those chemicals are at risk of seeping into the surrounding environment, contaminating the soil and groundwater, and endangering humans and animals.