While many may argue that convenience is a reason to use disposable batteries, using rechargeables is generally better. Here are some reasons why.

* Disposable batteries contain toxic heavy metals. There is no way to remove these metals safely, so when you throw away a disposable battery, it ends up in the landfill with all its toxins with it. Batteries do not biodegrade ver y easily.

* The sheer quantity of disposable batteries that end up in landfills is staggering. Literally tons of them are thrown away each year. Although recycling programs for disposable batteries are in place in some areas, such programs are few and far between. And not everyone uses them even if they are locally available.

* Rechargeable batteries contain toxic metals as well, but they can be recycled more easily. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation has a program called Call2Recycle, and this is a fairly widespread program. Some major retailers participate, providing drop-off points for consumers.

* Rechargeable batteries also have a much longer life before being recycled. In fact, they average anywhere from 500 to 1000 charges before they wear out, and that's more than a year's worth of use.

* Rechargeable batteries generally come in the same sizes and varieties as disposables. And as the popularity of rechargeables grows, the number of varieties is increasing.

* The charger for reusable batteries is small and easy to carry, and often has a hook-up that enables it to receive power from your car (via the cigarette lighter).

* You will save money when using rechargeables. Yes, the batteries themselves are more expensive, and then there's the cost of the charger. But the charger only has to be purchased once, and the batteries themselves only rarely. Ultimately, the savings add up. After all, the average household goes through 100 disposable batteries a year. That's quite a lot of money. But you will only have to buy new rechargeable batteries once every 12-18 months or so.

* Rechargeable batteries hold a charge for a long time, making them a good choice for power-hungry electronic devices like digital cameras.

Using rechargeable batteries is better for the planet. And you'll find they save you money in the long run and provide enough "juice" for any portable device.

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