As I was cleaning out our desk drawer and came upon a container of used batteries requiring delivery to the hazardous waste dump. I was stricken by the presence of this in my home. How can I continue to use batteries? They represent an amazing amount of embodied energy. The mined resources to create them and ship them alone is horrendous, but it’s almost too much to consider the tremendous weight on the planet of their ‘ethical disposal.’ Truthfully, is there any way we can ethically dispose of them? They are toxic. Wherever they end up, they will toxify.
I would like to never use batteries in my home again.
A few of my convenience items are battery operated – my watch, the white noise maker we take with us when napping the baby elsewhere, the baby monitor receiver which comes in handy when I’m at the back of the property. Then there are the host of rechargeable items in my home that have batteries, like my cell phone, camera and iPad. Then I think of our smoke alarms – all four of them and their lifesaving potential.
Very few of my children’s toys are battery operated, but some of their favourites are…like the toy train that my eldest bought with his own money at a thrift store, or the ‘twilight turtle’ that lights up their bedroom ceiling with the constellations of the night sky.
I want this to be a commitment I can make, but right now I can’t. As with all matters of integrity, I will take a moderate approach and begin to navigate this one slowly, and sow seeds of change with my children. Would our lives be worse without these things? Because I know it will be worse with them – filling the earth with battery acid. Perhaps I can commit for the time being to stick to rechargeable batteries only.