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Rechargeable batteries can be recharged 500 to 1,000 times: Consumer Reports

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It's something most of us have around the house to power up the TV remote, children’s toys or flashlights in case of a power outage.

But if you find you’re spending too much money on disposable single-use batteries, it may be time to make the switch to rechargeables.

Buying rechargeable batteries and a charger will cost you more up front, but overtime you'll save a lot of money and some batteries can be recharged 500 to 1,000 times which can keep a lot of single-use batteries out of landfill sites.

Meghan Patterson and her family have been using rechargeable batteries for about eight years.

“I worry a lot about our environmental impact when it comes to things like batteries,” Patterson said.

Both rechargeable and single-use batteries contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals that can pollute the environment. They both also require water and energy in the manufacturing process and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

A 2016 study in The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment found that rechargeable batteries are more sustainable than disposables after you’ve used them at least 50 times -- something that shouldn’t be a problem for most families.

“With kids' toys we go through batteries all the time and now I don’t feel guilty about it,” Patterson said.

Consumer Reports says toys and wireless mice are a great place to use rechargeable batteries since they usually draw a lot of power over a short period of time.

“You know, you buy them once and you can recharge them around a thousand or so times,” said Shanika Whitehurst, with Consumer Reports in Product Sustainability.

Make sure you also buy a charger that can accommodate all the different sizes you’ll be using. As for single-use batteries, they hold a charge longer and are best for things like smoke detectors and emergency tools like flashlights.

“That’s what they’re designed to have a slow discharge for those types of items where you kind of need them on the ready,” said Whitehurst.

Every battery, whether it's single-use or rechargeable has a life span and should be disposed of properly. Don't throw them in the garbage as most municipalities and some stores have easy to use recycling programs.  

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