Nothing evokes the holiday season more than the phrase, “batteries not included.” Any toy that moves or makes sound – meaning most toys that kids put on their wish list – needs a battery, or two, or six. Since this is the season for giving and buying batteries, here are some top tips for maximizing their life, safe storage and safe disposal:
Maximize Device and Battery Life:
- Whenever you replace batteries, clean contact surfaces by gently rubbing with a clean pencil eraser or cloth
- Remove exhausted batteries from the toy or device immediately; old batteries can leak and either ruin the contact surface or reduce the life of the replacement battery
- Replace all batteries at the same time with new ones; don’t mix and match new batteries with partially used batteries
- Keep unused batteries in a cool dry place and normal room temperature.
- If a toy or other device won’t be in use for a month or more, remove the batteries before storing
- Keep batteries, particularly small coin cell batteries, out of reach of children; they are choking hazard and can cause serious injury
- Don’t carry loose batteries in a pocket or purse with loose metal objects like coins or paper clips; this can short-circuit the battery and lead to high heat or leakage
- Don’t store batteries in high temperatures; this drains the life of the battery and can lead to leakage or rupture
- Don’t place a non-rechargeable battery in a charging device
- Most brand-name battery manufacturers have eliminated the use of mercury in alkaline batteries. In most parts of the United States you can place these batteries in common household waste.
- But, check your state or municipal waste collection website to see if they offer recycling programs before you put your alkaline batteries in the trash. Some municipalities also ask consumers wrap their batteries in masking tape prior to disposal.
- Don’t put a large number of alkaline batteries in the trash together; used batteries typically have some life in them – if they make contact, it can pose a serious safety risk
- Never put old batteries in a fire; they may leak or rupture
- Rechargeable battery recycling is increasingly popular. Visit www.call2recycle.org to find out what recycling programs are available in your area.