Easy Green: Recycle Your Rechargeables

We wait an average of 500 days before pulling a Hefner and upgrading to the youngest model. But what about the environmental effects?

Home Improvement's Richard Karn is feeling a little guilty after using so many power tools on Tool Time. The carpenter formerly known as Al Rolander, took a break from emcee-ing the Association of Wood Furnishings and Suppliers' annual belt-sander race, to team up with the Rechargeable Battery Corporation (RBRC). Karn and RBRC are promoting Call2Recycle, a massive drive for discarded power tool, portable appliance, and cell phone rechargeable batteries.

In today's world of information overload, wireless tools are necessary for survival. According to RBRC's consumer report, the average American uses at least six wireless products a day! And with so many Iphones, cell phones and crack-berries to choose from, we like to upgrade . . . on the regular. Patiently, but with bated breath, we wait an average of 500 days before pulling a "Hefner" and upgrading to the youngest model.

After upgrading, what happens to our perfectly good phones and their perfectly good, but highly toxic batteries? We throw them out or shove them into some overstuffed desk drawer. In fact, the average American desk-hoards a total of three or more dead and or perfectly functioning cell phones.

Shame on us, says Karn, cell phones, power tools and other portable appliances with recycleable batteries should not be hoarded or trashed. For one, some batteries contain enough lead to qualify as hazardous waste under federal regulations. Two, rechargeables contain a plethora of valuable natural resources including cadmium, nickel, and cobalt. Third, recycling batteries leaves more dumping ground for all that other junk we need to throw out.

This holiday season Call2Recylce will offer 30,000 drop off points at leading retailers from Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples, to Duane Reade, RadioShack, and Richard Karn's personal heaven, the Home Depot.

With so many drop off spots, recycling rechargeables is a real cinch. All you need to do is go to one of the 30,000 retail stores and throw your dead rechargeable batteries in a box that looks like one of these below. See, it's really easy!

For more information check out call2recycle.com.

Olivia Zaleski is a green living expert.