The household batteries that come along with all those holiday toys are an environmental menace. We use an estimated 3 billion a year.
In the past, the eco-choice has been between nickel-cadmium, which can be recharged, but eventually adds toxic cadmium to the landfill, and alkaline, which lasts longer but can't be recharged.
Now Rayovac Corp., a leading manufacturer, has come up with a greener alternative--an alkaline battery that can be recharged. It's called the Renewal, comes in AA, AAA, C and D capacities, and is available in retail stores around the country.
"We've been in the battery business a long time and, like other companies, we're concerned about the environment," spokeswoman Jolene Woodlee says. "We're doing a big campaign for the holiday season."
Because Renewal batteries demand their own recharge pack, an initial investment is required, (from $15 to $30, depending on the size) but there is a substantial savings in the long run, Woodlee says. Information: (800) 237-7000.
In a do-it-yourself mood?
In Redondo Beach, Harmony Works, an "eco-eclectic" retail store (that means environmental art, gifts, home decor and clothing) has scheduled two free events to make the holidays greener.
A "Wrappin' With the Earth" hands-on workshop is set for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7. Kathy Dent and Carolyn Locker will demonstrate ways to create environmentally safe bows, gift paper and box-top decorations. Children and parents can take home their creations. On Dec. 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Chris Howell of TreePeople will discuss the role of trees in the ecosystem and offer volunteer opportunities in urban and mountain forestry.
Harmony Works opened last spring at 1700 Catalina Ave. in Redondo Beach.
If you're not a do-it-yourselfer, drop into a Cost Plus store, a West Coast retail chain specializing in imported products and an environmental tradition. The stores feature recycled wrapping paper, and ribbons and bows colored with water soluble dyes.
Instead of boxes for gifts, the store is suggesting holiday baskets with a bed of excelsior, tied with raffia bows. "We always have these on hand, but we've really stocked up for the holidays," spokeswoman Julia Whitelaw says.
Still making a shopping list? The December issue of E Magazine has 50 gift ideas in its six-page Holiday Green Marketplace. The items are as small as solar slippers, as large as a Swedish Asko washer and as offbeat as the Beaver Rivers' worm composting system. . . . And in the big-gift department, Oceanic Society Expeditions in San Francisco suggests Whale Watch Gift Certificates for full-day and half-day cruises to watch the mighty migration. Also popular for gifts are the group's Adopt-A-Dolphin certificates. Information: (800) 326-7491.