Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Disposable Batteries — Good for Convenience, Bad For The Environment

Most of us don't give it a second thought, but we're surrounded by batteries. They power our computers, digital music players, phones, mobile devices, radios, wrist watches, smoke detectors, flashlights, toys... the list goes on.

A staggering 15 billion disposable batteries are manufactured each year. The kind we use most are household alkaline batteries. Today's batteries are far less harmful than their predecessors, which contained high levels of mercury and cadmium, yet they still contain nasty chemicals that can harm the environment.

Batteries should always be properly recycled at the end of their life, but they often get tossed in the trash (or just tossed) where they eventually breakdown and leach toxics into the ground. When not disposed of properly, discarded batteries can harm wildlife, pollute groundwater, and foul the soil.

We like to end our posts on a happy note, and we'll bet you saw this one coming: there are many high quality hand-cranked and solar powered tools to replace conventional battery-powered items. They work great and cut out the need to buy replacement batteries. We can get you the cool kind you can slap your logo on!

The flashlight pictured above provides five minutes of light for one minute of cranking. It can also recharge your cell phone. It'll last for years, but costs no more than a box of six disposable D cell batteries. Human-powered and solar swag make for wonderful gifts and incentives to promote sustainability or renewable energy initiatives. Find out more here.