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How to Recycle Rechargeable General Use Batteries

How to Recycle Rechargeable General Use Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are increasingly used instead of single use batteries as the charge life and reliability of rechargeable batteries increases

Rechargeable batteries will literally recharge hundreds of times before giving out, but when they finally do give out, it's extremely important to recycle them. Many rechargeables are coloured green and while the fact that they are reusable is excellent (green), their contents are far from green.

Nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) is the most common type rechargeable AA and AAA rechargeable batteries. Both NiMH and the electrolyte, KOH are toxic and must not go into landfill. Disposal into landfill contaminates the local environment.

Battery recycling programs and initiatives are available for easy battery disposal. It's easy to recycle batteries and Battery recycling programs are available at places like Officeworks, Aldi, Battery World and Ikea.

Simply collect your used batteries in a box or container in the kitchen or living area. Once the box is fill, take it to your nearest recycling location.

Information on non rechargeable household batteries.

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Science Notes

Single use batteries and rechargeable batteries operate in pretty much the same way, producing current via an electo-chemical reaction between the anode and the cathode. The difference in a rechargeable battery is that the reaction is able to be reversed – and the battery therefore ‘recharged’ when plugged into power.

The components of NiMH batteries include a cathode of Nickel-hydroxide, an anode of Hydrogen absorbing alloys and a Potassium-hydroxide (KOH) electrolyte. 

Related Tip

You don’t need to buy more than one charger for the same brand and type of battery to be able to use the charger on different batteries as long as it fits the battery size.  

Bear in mind however that it is useful to keep the batches of batteries together. When different age and stage batteries working together are unable to discharge at equal or consistent rates, some cells can end up being placed under excessive workloads as they struggle to compensate for weaker performers. Combining loose or non-identical rechargeable AA batteries can lead to power or stability issues.