Contrary to what you may have seen on television, even an indefatigable pink bunny donning black shades and flip-flops will peter out and cease pounding away on his bass drum. Yes, he does manage to keep on going and going and going … but what happens when America’s most relentless battery-operated bunny stops?

Single-use alkaline batteries, like those used to power drum-beating bunnies (and remote controls, flashlights and scent-emitting toilet seat lids), can be tossed out with the regular household trash in most municipalities (save for all of California) given that they’ve been mercury-free for the past two decades thanks to Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act.

But just because alkaline batteries don’t necessarily need to be recycled doesn’t mean that they can’t — numerous nationwide battery recycling programs are willing to take a Ziploc filled with dead AAs off your hands and dispose of them in a manner that doesn’t involve putting them in a landfill for the next century or two.

Yesterday, Energizer Holdings, overlord of battery-operated pink bunnies everywhere, introduced a new line of AA and AAA alkaline batteries, giving consumers all the more reason to find a way to recycle their spent ones. Called Energizer EcoAdvanced, the batteries are the first alkaline models on the market to be partially made from recycled content — that is, content recycled from old batteries.

The actual amount of recycled content in EcoAdvanced batteries is rather small —  just 4 percent. It took Energizer scientists seven years to develop technology that allows high-performance batteries to be made from materials derived from old batteries, namely zinc and manganese. By further developing the technology, Energizer hopes to boost the amount of recycled content by weight from 4 percent to 40 percent by the year 2025.

So why then, is the era of almost half recycled content batteries so far off — and why such a low percentage to start with?

Michelle Atkinson, chief marketing officer for the Missouri-based company, explains to the Wall Street Journal that few recyclers process alkaline batteries since, until now, they’ve been largely considered useless in the post-consumer afterlife with no valuable materials to harvest. “Because we have created economic value for this output, that is going to enable more processing to come online,” Atkinson explains. “I think we’re at a tipping point.”

In a news release, Energizer describes the technology as an “ innovative approach that refines and transforms recycled battery material into a high-performance active ingredient. This ingredient, used in conjunction with energy rings, results in a long-lasting battery that has less impact on the planet.”

In addition to being manufactured with a small percentage of recycled batteries, which, of course, eases the need for the mining of virgin materials, Energizer is touting EcoAdvance as its longest-lasting alkaline battery. The company is confident that this will translate to less waste, simply because fewer batteries will be chucked.

When they hit stores later this month, a four-pack of AA Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries will retail for $5 — a 25 or so percent jump in price from comparable high-performance alkaline batteries. Energizer MAX batteries, for example, usually ring in for under $4. However, Energizer is offering online coupons to help drive the price down just a bit.

Check out the EcoAdvanced website for more info on this notable new addition to the single-use battery market including info, via our friends at Earth911, about where you can recycle your zapped-of-juice alkalines (and other types of batteries that must be properly disposed of). Below, you’ll find a promotional video for EcoAdvanced. I’ve also included a classic Energizer Bunny ad spot — the very first, from 1989 — for purely nostalgic reasons. Although he’s absent in the first feel-goody EcoAdvanced advertisement, word is that the Energizer Bunny will appear in future ones.

Think you’ll give Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries a go? Or do you shy away from disposable batteries and opt for rechargeable ones?

Via [WSJ]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.