5 surprising facts you didn't know about batteries
Posted: August 04, 2016 | Word Count: 585
Without batteries, the modern world wouldn’t exist as we know it. From household appliances to laptops, cellphones, tablets and other portable electronics, batteries play a vital role in powering the devices we rely on every day.
Although these tiny power sources can be found in almost every household, many Americans are unaware of their full potential. Test your battery IQ with these five household battery facts most people don’t know!
1. Primary batteries are different from rechargeable batteries.
Did you know there are two kinds of batteries? Primary batteries are the most common household battery and cannot be recharged. Commonly referred to as alkaline, they are frequently used to power remote controls, flashlights and smoke detectors. Rechargeable batteries can be recharged and used repeatedly. Most often, you’ll find these in your laptop computers, cellphones, tablets, and cordless power tools, and more!
2. You’re probably using rechargeable batteries and don’t even know it.
Because rechargeable batteries usually come already installed in devices, many people don’t realize they’re using them until it’s time to replace the battery or the device. A good rule of thumb is that any portable electronic device you charge contains a rechargeable battery.
3. Rechargeable batteries don’t last forever.
Unlike primary batteries, which only have one charge before they can’t be used again, rechargeable batteries are designed for long-term use. Rechargeable batteries can live an average 2-5 years, and many can be charged up to 1,000 times. But despite their longer life cycle, rechargeable batteries will eventually stop holding a charge. To prolong your battery’s life, avoid overcharging and check out these charging tips.
4. Rechargeable batteries may contain recyclable metals.
Some battery chemistries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel. When rechargeable batteries are tossed in the trash, they can end up in landfills where their toxic materials can enter the waste stream and harm our environment. It’s always better to recycle than to add to our waste stream and take up space in landfills.
5. Recycled batteries are used to create new products.
When batteries are recycled instead of being thrown away, valuable metals can be recovered and used in new products, such as utensils, car parts, golf clubs, new batteries and other products! This reduces the number of new materials that must be used, and gives your old batteries a second life through recycling.
We use batteries for many things, so it’s important to know about what kinds of batteries are out there, which battery is best used for your specific product, and how they can be recycled. Beyond the last charge of any battery lies a future as a new material. When you are replacing devices or changing batteries, it’s the perfect time to collect and recycle them.
Organizations like Call2Recycle, Inc. make it easy to be a responsible battery consumer by offering a no-cost recycling solution for the rechargeable batteries found in most types of cordless gadgets and small electronics. To recycle, simply bring your rechargeable batteries to one of their partner retailers or municipalities that serve as drop-off locations. This network includes retail stores in your own community that you may visit regularly, including Best Buy, Lowe’s, Sears, Staples, The Home Depot and more. Find a rechargeable battery collection location near you by visiting www.call2recycle.org.
While primary batteries can contain materials that are recyclable, Vermont is currently the only state with a battery recycling law that requires a statewide collection and recycling program. For available recycling options in other states, please check with your local city or county recycling program for additional information or check out Earth911.com.