Photo: Penny Electrics

By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS

So, as a socially responsible, sustainability-inclined and environmentally “woke” global citizen of the 21st century, you faithfully choose green cleaning products over those with harsher chemicals, avoid using straws and other one-time-use plastic products, and diligently sort your trash into separate bins for recycling.

But what about the last time you changed the batteries in your TV’s remote control or your kid’s handheld video game?

Photo: Energizer

Did you just reach for a blister pack of traditional, one-use, AA or AAA batteries, or did you make the politically cognizant choice to opt for a more ecology-friendly rechargeable battery?

Batteries — those ubiquitously wonderful little tube-shaped or rectangular energizing cores packed with zinc, magnesium and potassium that power everything from electric toothbrushes to cordless carving knives to emergency flashlights — can also be a potential danger to the environment.

Every year, Mexican consumers dispose of literally billions of batteries, all containing toxic or corrosive materials, such as cadmium, mercury and lithium, which can become hazardous waste and pose threats to both health and the environment.

If they are improperly disposed of, batteries can contribute to both water and air pollution.

When depleted batteries are thrown into the trash, the generally end up in landfills, where they can decay and leak, and as they erode, their chemicals can seep into soil and contaminate groundwater and surface reservoirs.

Fortunately, with the introduction alkaline batteries — which get their energy from alkaline electrolytes of potassium hydroxide, rather the acidic ammonium chloride or zinc chloride — batteries today are now are not nearly as hazardous to the environment as they used to be because they no longer contain lead and mercury.

They do, however, contain zinc, cadmium, nickel, lithium, manganese and copper, which can lead to ecological concerns.

Most major battery manufacturers around the world, such as Energizer, are constantly striving to make their products more sustainable by reducing the impact they have on the environment —  including through responsible packaging and recycling programs that help to ensure the availability of natural resources for generations to come — and by continually developing new designs that are more recyclable and contain fewer toxic materials.

Nevertheless, the production, transportation and distribution of batteries consumes natural resources, thereby contributing to an accelerating depletion of natural resources.

Photo: Energizer

Rechargeable batteries, such as the Energizer Recharge, consume far less nonrenewable natural resources than disposable batteries because fewer rechargeable batteries are needed to provide the same amount of energy.

Rechargeable batteries have come a long way since your dad purchased that bulky metal recharger in the 1990s that took all day to juice up the cells only to have them die after just a few hours of use.

Today, rechargeable batteries are less expensive, more reliable and much longer lasting than their early prototypes.

Most of today’s rechargeable batteries are made of nickel-metal hydride, a much more efficient material than reusable alkaline, and are chemically sealed to prevent battery leakage.

Moreover, they can be recharged hundreds of times and, as the Energizer Bunny would say, “keep going and going and going.”

Working with international environmental groups such as Earth 911 and Call2Recycle, Energizer has worked diligently to make socially responsible rechargeable batteries such as the Energizer Recharger, which combine innovation and environmental stewardship.

In fact, the Energizer Recharge was the first rechargeable to also contain recycled batteries.

In addition to producing less environmental waste, rechargeables can be a lot gentler on your financial budget.

In most cases, they pay for themselves after just a handful of recharges, even considering the added cost of a wall charger (which you can find on Amazon or Mercado Libre for less than 500 pesos).

Quality rechargeables can power a device on a single charge as powerfully as most single-use batteries can, and are equally efficient in terms of durability.

Still, not all battery-operated devices are suited to rechargeables.

Electronics that require only low amounts of energy for long periods of time, such as wall clocks or stick-on closet lights, tend to function better with disposable alkaline batteries, like the Energizer Max, since rechargeables, when reaching their energy limit, usually fade out, rather than just coming to a full stop, leading to potentially faulty devise behavior.

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