Published on 12/30/09

Use care when purchasing or disposing of batteries

During the holidays, we scour the stores for the newest gadgets and electronics to give as gifts. But, some people forget new animatronic animals and game system remotes need batteries to operate.

In fact, about 40 percent of battery sales occur during the holiday season. This can really become a problem from an environmental standpoint. Batteries contain metals, acids and other compounds that can be harmful when released into the environment.

To help the environment, consider buying rechargeable batteries and a charger to go along with battery-operated gifts. Rechargeable batteries can go a long way to reducing your carbon footprint.

You can also help the environment by recycling old batteries properly. The Department of Transportation requires that consumers tape the positive end of rechargeable batteries with clear tape and store them in a plastic bag before recycling. Alkaline batteries do not have to be taped. This regulation was designed to help prevent major incidents, such as fires, during battery shipment.

To identify rechargeable batteries, look for the words Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium-ion (Li-ion), Lithium Polymer or silver-oxide (button) batteries.

To dispose of smaller button-style batteries, line them up on a strip of clear tape and secure them with another strip of clear tape along the top.

If in doubt, seal the positive ends of all batteries with clear tape before recycling.

To find a recycling center for single use batteries go to the Web site To find out where you can recycle rechargeable batteries visit the Web site

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