Public: Recycling
Battery Envelope   (+8, -2)  [vote for, against]
Pop your dud AAs in the envelope; post; receive fresh ones

The batteries on my wireless mouse conked out the other day. I opened up the mouse, walked to my battery drawer, got some new ones out and put them in the mouse.

I stood with the old ones in my hand, feeling sure I wasn't supposed to just chuck them in the bin but not really sure what I was supposed to do with them.

Battery Envelope to the rescue.

Battery Envelope is a reusable envelope. You pop your duds in the envelope, send it to Battery Envelope, PO BOX 999 (using the preprinted, freepost label inside) and a) your duds are recycled and b) you get four fresh Duracell Plus AAs back as fast as the Royal Mail can carry them (along with a new freepost label of course).

Now how much (over the cost of the batteries - 50p each - and postage - ~50p each way) would you pay for that service I asksya?! Not a sausage, or a whole bag of croissants?
-- Neid, Feb 16 2009

HP recycling
Also takes rechargeable batteries [csea, Feb 16 2009]

A cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative. http://www.energize...attery-charger.aspx
We love these at my house. [jhomrighaus, Feb 17 2009]

I like.+
-- blissmiss, Feb 16 2009

HP already provides for recycling of used inkjet cartridges, [link] but I really like the notion of receiving replacement items by post. +
-- csea, Feb 16 2009

I like it, but the weight of batteries might make it less feasible. Ultimately, you're asking everyone to pay two- way postage simply to avoid disposing of their used batteries. You've also got a modest environmental cost of doing this, since it's inefficient to move a couple of batteries around.

I believe some recycling depots have containers for dead batteries; this must be better, because the dead batteries are collected en masse, and the postman doesn't have to make an extra trip to your house especially to deliver the replacements.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 16 2009

Energizer makes a wonderful Lithium battery system that uses an inexpensive charger to recharge your conventional sized AA and AAA batteries from the wall in under 10 minutes. Our battery budget has been slashed with 2 children and the normal collection of remotes and game controlers, additionally this is a much more environmentally friendly way to handle this issue.

As far as your idea I have to bone, this is environmentally horrible.
-- jhomrighaus, Feb 16 2009

[jh] the idea isn't more horrible than leaving dead batteries laying around.
-- FlyingToaster, Feb 16 2009

placing them in a box and turning them in for recycling would be far more environmentally sound
-- jhomrighaus, Feb 16 2009

This idea is certainly not perfect; but is is better than the facilities available or used by most people today. Therefore [+],.
-- vincevincevince, Feb 17 2009

If you can figure out a way to ship top quality batteries to customers at less than the cost of purchasing batteries at their local Walmart, you have an excellent business opportunity here. It may be possible to do this given large enough volumes. There are lessons to be learned from companies such as Amazon and Netflix. And there are several companies that already do this with hearing aid batteries.

Obviously it should include recycling program for returned batteries. I'd certainly use a service such as this.
-- tatterdemalion, Feb 17 2009

Old dead batteries tend to leak acid. I don't think the postal service would like this.

(and BTW, rechargeables FTW!)
-- Spacecoyote, Feb 17 2009

First off, rechargables ftw of course, but as has been pointed out BE is at least better than throwing duracells away.

No-one will give you voucher for recycling batteries because the value you can extract from a dud battery is less than the energy required to do so. So the atm-bins spitting out vouchers is unlikely to work. Unless taxpayer-subsidised. Or duracell subsidised, to encourage your loyalty, but then if they don't already do this is could be that they don't need to.

Perhaps we could come up with a way to give dud batteries more value. Art perhaps?

Re posting, 1st class stamps will shift 100g which is 4 x AA. Re acid-leaks, um, yeah. Meh.
-- Neid, Feb 17 2009

//Uh... perhaps add a few grams of baking soda?//

Hm now that could make things really interesting. Wrap them together with a little wire and you could shut down the US postal service in about 3 minutes.
-- jhomrighaus, Feb 17 2009

Baking soda?! ;Maling anything in white powder is a bad idea, especially in the US, ask Dan Rather. I like the Walmart drop bins idea. Postage seems too expensive and inefficient.

There needs to be an easier way for parents to deal with dead batteries. I always ude rechargables, but many toys come with batteries and many toys last forever with standard batteries. These lead me to eventually have a huge cup of dead batteries. I have a charger that actually will put one extra charge in most of them (it's made for recharable alcalines), but I never remember how batteries are sopposed to be recycled.
-- MisterQED, Feb 17 2009

Great application of a business model to what is currently a 'problem' situation.

1) It's good for the environment
2) It encourages *everyone* to act responsibly
3) It's proven (glass bottles, camera film etc)
4) It's new!

Love it - especially as it would act as a driver reinforcing the battery makers to consider better and more efficient technology.
-- zen_tom, Feb 17 2009

Hello bakers. I gave this some serious investigation and discovered a few reasons it will remain forever an oven-virgin.

It doesn't scale well. A hundred envelopes requires a hundred times as much work as one envelope. You might get round this by charging a subscription, but that defeats a bit of the idea.

At small scales, the profit margin is wiped out by the direct debit charge.

Sainsbury's tried something like this, except they gave away plastic envelopes at the checkout. Punters were supposed to put their old batteries in the envelopes and post them to Sainsbury's. End of transaction. They abandoned it when punters started sending old CAR batteries to the freepost address. Royal Mail weren't too happy. BatteryEnvelope would get around this by having an ongoing relationship with the customer, so we'd just cut you off if you did anything stupid like that.

If two batteries are left touching flat ends or 'nose'-ends, then they short-circuit and seep out horrible toxic white goo. Royal Mail recommends batteries are wrapped up so they don't move in the post, which rather defeats the 'pop them in an envelope' simplicity of the idea.
-- Neid, Apr 13 2009

killjoy ;-)
-- blissmiss, Apr 13 2009

Here in Spain, you can find drop bins for your old batteries in most supermarkets, and many ironmongers. And even some on street corners. One hole for button batteries, and another for other "normal" ones. Nothing you could wedge an old car battery into ! I assume they are organised by the council, just like other recycling services.

Some boxes are transparent, and I've never seen acid glowing paste oozing through the cracks, as you might imagine. Not sure about the on-street ones though. They must get wet in there when it rains...

[BTW if buying a new charger, get one which charges the cells (batteries) individually, rather than in pairs, which seems to be the most common type. We've got various things which take 3 cells, and it can be a real pain to find a 4th similarly flat cell to pair the third one up with for charging]
-- VaquitaTim, Apr 14 2009

random, halfbakery