Batteries

Industrial Consumer

Rechargeable batteries can now be used for almost any purpose except certain sensitive electronic devices or situations where longevity is critical, such as emergency equipment. The technology has improved.  Our new report identifies best-performing product names for AAA, AA, and D size batteries.

Required

Suggested

  • Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Rechargeable Batteries

    These low self-discharge, high capacity batteries are best choice for replacing disposable alkaline household ones (such as AAA, AA, or D cells). They can be used with standard NiMH chargers.

    When to Use

    Can replace alkaline batteries for almost any purpose, including low-drain devices (e.g., remote controls, flashlights) and high-drain electronic devices (e.g., digital cameras). Not for equipment that needs a voltage higher than 1.2V, or for emergency equipment (e.g., medical devices). Previous generations of NiMH rechargeables were less ideal for very low-drain devices like clocks; however, the new low self-discharge batteries have improved dramatically.

    Manufacturer(s)
    See products
    Other Vendor(s)
    Product/Service Type
    Consumer, Industrial
  • Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Equipment

    Because of higher voltage  (3.7 v), nonstandard sizes and the need for special chargers, lithium-ion batteries are not drop-in replacements for standard household batteries (AAA, AA, D).  However,  lithium-ion technology holds more charge, making it ideal for purchases of rechargeable equipment.

    When to Use

    Look for lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology as a feature in rechargeable equipment purchases, such as flashlights or power tools. Usually these batteries are contained in special battery packs or are not replaceable. There are also a few kinds of specialized electronic equipment that are designed for 3.7 volts Li-ion batteries.

    Manufacturer(s)
    City Approved Vendor(s)
    Other Vendor(s)
    Product/Service Type
    Consumer, Industrial

Limited

Prohibited

Info on this product category: Batteries

Why Go Green

All used batteries - whether rechargeable or not - must be recycled, not disposed in the trash. Because one rechargeable battery can replace hundreds of non-rechargeables, the waste impact is reduced dramatically. Older nickel-cadmium rechargeables - still sometimes found in power tools - have considerably more toxic heavy metals.

 

Criteria for Batteries

AA rechargeable batteries must be:

  • Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) chemistry
  • Minimum 2000 mAh capacity
  • Low self-discharge (LSD): Maintains a minimum of 80% capacity after 1 year in storage, or 75% after 3 years in storage

AAA rechargeable batteries must be:

  • Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) chemistry
  • Minimum 800 mAh capacity
  • Low Self-Discharge: Maintains a minimum of 80% capacity after 1 year storage, or 75% after 3 years storage

D rechargeable batteries must be:

  • NiMH chemistry
  • Minimum 8000 mAh capacity
  • Low Self-Discharge: Maintains a minimum of 80% capacity after 1 year in storage, or 75% after 3 years in storage

Non-rechargeable alkaline batteries are acceptable for precision electronic equipment that is voltage sensitive, for emergency use equipment, or for other applications requiring longevity and slow power drain. 

Recycling

  • Vendors that have contracts to sell batteries to the City must collect and recycle them free of charge.

Last updated

Last updated: 
July 1, 2016

Reports

Charging Ahead: How to Find Powerful Rechargeable Batteries that Go On and On. 2016. A Report by the Responsible Purchasing Network to the San Francisco Department of the Environment recommending specifications for AA, AAA and D-sized rechargeable batteries for San Francisco’s SF Approved Program.

View the report and the spreadsheet summary of products (Appendix C).

 

 

Guide for City Staff

Recycling Instructions

Vendors that have contracts to sell batteries to the City must collect and recycle them free of charge.  You can get free bins from the current City contracted office supply vendor.

Or get signs and bins and pay San Francisco Department of Public Health to pickup batteries and other toxic wastes that are not allowed in the trash.