We use batteries in everything from our cameras to our computer mouse. While eliminating batteries from our camera bag is not an option, we can reduce the environmental impact of our battery consumption with a few simple tips.
• Properly store your batteries. Proper storage of your batteries will increase their life. Energizer.com has an excellent list of do’s and don’ts for battery care. For example, when carrying batteries in your pocket, do not allow them to rub against metal objects. This can short-circuit your battery, which can lead to leakage. For the same reason you do not want to mix different types of batteries in a storage container. Use battery cases, such as this one found on Greenbatteries.com, to keep loose batteries organized in your camera case.
• Recycle your batteries. Rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals, which if not properly disposed of can become an environmental hazard. To find a recycling center near you, visit Earth911.org. Earth911.org also has an excellent Rechargeable Batteries 101 help section.
• Buy the right battery. Greenbatteries.com states that “for most high drain electronic devices, like digital cameras, rechargeable batteries will continue to work much longer than alkaline batteries. In fact, in devices like digital cameras, NiMH batteries will run on a single charge for 3-4 times as long as they would on an alkaline battery.” Rechargeable batteries come in different capacities such as 2700 mAh or 1700mAh, so be sure to purchase the highest capacity available. Additionally, all batteries are not created equal. For a review and rating of the current batteries on the market, check Consumerreports.org.
• Be smart about your battery consumption.T urn off your equipment when not in use to eliminate unnecessary battery drainage. Use a battery charger that is specifically designed for the type of battery you are using. For example, you should use a smart fast charger for a battery described as quick charge. Charge batteries only for as long as necessary rather than overnight. Greenbatteries.com states that over charging a battery will reduce the life of the battery.
If you would like to learn more about batteries, you can find more information at the following links:
Energizer has an excellent learning center.
Green Batteries has a comprehensive downloadable report.
Wikipedia has an extensive list of references to find more information.
Photolovecat.com has a more in-depth explanation of battery types and care.
Jessica Riehl is the owner of Jessica Riehl Photography, www.jessicariehl.com and a contributing member of Greener Photography. She is also a member of Professional Photographers of America and Virginia Professional Photographers.