For the eco-savvy shopper, batteries are the worst. One, you constantly go through them and need more of them. Two, they’re bad for the environment and create a lot of waste. Three, they’re considered hazardous waste and require special disposal (so you have a separate container just waiting to get taken somewhere). Four, they cost a lot, so they drain your cash.
Rechargeable batteries are the solution to your problems! On average, rechargeable batteries can be charged 1,000 times before they reach their end of life, which reduces waste and saves money many times over.
How do you find the best sustainable rechargeable battery option, while also minimizing costs? Use this guide to find the perfect match.
What to Factor Into Your Decision
It’s not sustainable to buy any product without knowing it’ll work for what you need. If you never use AAA batteries, it doesn’t make sense to start with a rechargeable starter kit with AA and AAA batteries…just stick to what you need instead. Here are some questions to ask yourself before buying batteries:
- What size batteries do you need?
- How many do you need?
- How do you charge them?
- What do you need to charge them?
- How long does it take to fully charge?
- How long will the charge last?
- Can you use your charger with other battery sizes?
- Will the power be sufficient for what devices you’re using?
- How long do the batteries last?
- Where can you buy them?
- Can they be recycled after use?
Rechargeable Battery Options
With a little research, you can find the rechargeable batteries you need. Here are three of our favorite options:
eneloop by Panasonic
We tend to think the more transparent the better, and eneloop lays out why its batteries are an environmentally-friendly option better than any company. Some reasons: battery life lasts longer (up to 2,100 charges), batteries come pre-charged using solar energy, and the company is committed to sustainability. Panasonic is much more substantial in their sustainability claims than any other company on this list.
Around $18 for a charger and 4 AA batteries (Note: they have a slightly more expensive USB charger option as well)
Learn more about the sustainability of eneloop.
Energizer Recharge Rechargeable Batteries
It’s great to see big battery companies developing rechargeable battery options. Energizer seems to provide the best option among these bigger battery companies. The batteries are made with 4% recycled batteries, and they’re clearly focused on being more sustainable as a company. If you need to buy in-store versus online, go with this option. They have multiple chargers, including a car charging option.
Where to buy
Many retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, REI, and Home Depot. Check with your local store for availability.
Around $13 for a basic charger and 4 AA batteries
Learn more about Energizer’s Rechargeable Batteries.
AmazonBasics Rechargeable Batteries
Amazon has its own rechargeable batteries, and they’re clearly Amazon’s rechargeable battery top choice while searching in Amazon. The batteries come pre-charged using solar technology. They have a wall-unit charger that enables you to charge a USB device at the same time you charge your batteries, but keep in mind the USB is output only.
Where to buy
Around $25 for a charger and 4 AA batteries
Where to Recycle
Though they last a long time, your rechargeable batteries won’t last forever. Once they’ve kicked the bucket, find out how to recycle with these resources:
Retailers. Check with retailers like HomeDepot and Target for battery recycling programs.
Many companies have starter packs with a charger and batteries. This is a great place to start, then you can buy more battery packs if needed.
Most chargers have an auto-off function once the batteries are fully charged, which means you won’t overcharge.
Make sure the charger you get works for you. Most are wall charging units. Most basic chargers charge AA and AAA batteries, but there are chargers for rechargeable C and D batteries.