River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Green Living

November 2002

Batteries - good ideas for the committed and the reluctant environmentalist

Almost all of us use lots of small AA or AAA batteries type batteries each year. Most of these contain metals such as cadmium, mercury and nickel that are extremely toxic both to people and whole ecosystems. For instance very small concentrations of these metals can wipe out most of the life in a pond, river or lake. Legally these are not supposed to go our bins but having talked to our local environmental health department I was told that at present the council has no facilities to separate or recycle the toxic metals in such batteries. Their only advice was to put them in the bin and hopefully the toxic metals will be so diluted in the landfill that they won't cause a serious hazard. This is just making landfill sites even more of a hazard and more difficult to rehabilitate into useful land in the future. But there are alternatives. The best alternative is to use rechargeable batteries. They are more expensive to buy but they last up to 1000 times longer before packing in and save money too. The second alternative is to by single use alkaline manganese batteries. If you want to go that extra mile you could buy a solar-powered battery charger.

Talking of going the extra mile, I said some time ago that I was getting a fuel line catalyst fitted to my car to improve it's efficiency and would come back to you to let you know how it is going. The catalyst has improved the performance of my 1.4 Astra by 20+%. This is broadly in line with the literature from the company that made it but much less than the over-hyped press report of 40%. Even so it has been worth it both environmentally and financially. If you are interested in having such a catalyst for your car talk to your garage or get in touch with me.

Your letters seem to have dried up this month. Please keep your ideas or comments coming in.

Revd Nigel Tuffnell

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