Toys bleep and buzz and boom and bop, and sometimes they even burp. They bemuse boys, make girls giggle, and annoy the heck out of adults. Show me a parent whose kid does not have a battery operated toy, and I’ll show you a likely candidate for the next series of Frontier House. For the rest of us eco-minded toy owners, there is the Green Batteries website.
Greenbatteries.com is the one-stop shop for cells that power all that lights-up, speeds around and never seems to shut-down. Though the site’s somewhat geeky jargon and propensity toward the use of acronyms (NiMH, Li-ion, mAh) may throw some off, it is very user-friendly, and a quick click through the FAQs will most likely dispel every myth you’ve ever had about rechargeable batteries.
The one question readers might be asking at this point is, “Well, Mr. Battery know-it-all, what’s the best rechargeable battery for my kid’s toys?” I’ll let Curtis Randolph over at Green Batteries answer that:
“NiMH batteries are a good choice for many things, depending on the energy required for the device, and the usage patterns. The worst thing about NiMH batteries is still the self-discharge issue. Ultra Low Self Discharge (ULSD) batteries have helped with this a little, but you still need to be aware of it. Also, the ULSD batteries are generally not available in C and D cells, so you need to use the battery adapters with AA cells in lieu of the C and D cells.”
Translated from geek speak, parents should opt for rechargeable cells for toys that require double or triple A batteries (most portable electronic ‘sight and sound’ toys). For the radio-controlled monster truck that takes a C or D battery, it’s best to get an adapter or “upsizer”.
Truly sustainable families will be happy with the BioHabitat line of toys by Imaginarium. BioHabitat offers a host of “energy generators that raise awareness of renewable energies and promote their use by children from a very early age.” At the BioHabitat site you’ll find a hand-cranked e-energy dynamo, an e-energy wind turbine, and an e-energy solar recharge unit that all work handily with the signature Green Batteries brand (they come at a much lower cost than standard rechargeables).
So go ahead, get that battery operated toy, but help reduce waste in landfills by recharging.