Rechargeable Batteries

Different types of rechargeable batteries

Drawing power from rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones can significantly cut down on the amount of household waste you generate. While rechargeable battery technology was uneven and somewhat unreliable for many years, it's made great strides in the past decade or so. With many of today's brands, you can get more power out of a single charge than you can out of a disposable battery.

Typically used to power household electronics and tools, consumer demand for rechargeable batteries is increasing at a rapid rate. Some industry estimates suggest that growth rates in the rechargeable battery market double those seen in the disposable battery market.

Types of Rechargeable Batteries

There are many different technologies used to power rechargeable batteries; some are very common, some are less common, and some are emerging as the wave of the future. For many years, nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries (NiCd) were the standard, but because cadmium is toxic, these batteries have largely been supplanted by rechargeable NiMH batteries. NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) batteries eliminate the need for cadmium, replacing it with a safe metal alloy.

Rechargeable lithium batteries are an emerging force in the market. While the technology behind rechargeable lithium ion batteries has not yet been fully developed, it holds great promise. These rechargeable batteries last a very long time thanks to an extremely slow loss of charge rate and pack a great deal of energy into a small amount of mass.

You can get rechargeable batteries in a full range of gauges. AA rechargeable batteries and AAA rechargeable batteries are the most common, but C, D and 9-volt gauges are also available. However, remember that you'll have to purchase separate battery chargers for each gauge you use.

Benefits of Rechargeable Batteries

Studies that have attempted to quantify the environmental benefits of using rechargeable batteries have yielded some staggering numbers. It's been found that rechargeable batteries have 23 times less of an impact on the consumption of nonrenewable resources than disposable ones and contribute to global warming up to 28 times less. They also help reduce air and ozone pollution, keep water resources cleaner and acidify the air at about one-tenth the rate of disposable batteries.

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