Over the past several years, I've adopted one new green habit each Earth Day. With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, I'd like to share some of the things that have helped me reduce my family's impact on the Earth, improve our health, and save money. Hopefully you'll find one that you can add to your family's routine.

If your family is anything like mine, you go through AA batteries like it's your job. About 3 billion alkaline batteries are sold in the US every year, and the average person throws away 8 a year (totalling 84,000 tons). Statistically our family should throw away 32 batteries in a year. Between toys and electronics, I think that number is dreadfully low. I would estimate we spent about $100/year on AA batteries, even shopping sales and using coupons.

Having grown weary of buying batteries, and hearing reports about the dangers of mercury and other toxins leaking into landfills through crushed or degrading battery casing, I decided to invest in rechargeable batteries. It has been a worthwhile, but slow, transition, so let me tell you what I've learned.

1. Prepare for an investment. Plan to buy one pack of rechargeable batteries every month until you have enough to power your household (plus a few extra in reserve). Often you can find coupons in the Sunday paper, so watch for those.

2. Wean yourself off regular batteries slowly. Buy a pack of regular batteries to have as backup while you build your supply of rechargeables. Heaven knows you don't want a dead Wii controller while you wait for the batteries to charge.

3. If you have a battery store nearby, like BatteriesPlus or Radio Shack, go there to get your charger. They'll be able to help you choose the best one. If you don't have a battery store nearby, most battery companies have chargers. Just pick the one you like best. Due to poor planning and lack of communication, we have 3 chargers: Radio Shack, Duracell, and Energizer. My favorite is the Radio Shack because it charges in 2 hours, adjusts to charge AA and AAA batteries, and has a cord.

4. Choose one brand of battery and stick with it. Different brands can be fractionally different lengths and hold their charge differently. If you choose one, you'll be able to develop consistency. I like the Duracell because they often have coupons and it's easy for me to remember the copper top. (Sometimes I loose my mind in the grocery store and need visual reminders of what to buy.) BTW, some batteries come "precharged" while others need to be charged before you can use them. Read the package so you aren't caught unprepared.

5. Get in the habit of charging batteries as soon as you discover they've gone dead. Then keep a small container of charged batteries ready for when the camera goes dead in the middle of a birthday party (not that I've learned that the hard way ...).
Happy Easter from the McKees!
We pray you each celebrated our risen Savior today.

The Easter Bunny came while we were at church!

The Great Hunt of 2010: Patriot - 5 yo, Azlan - 3 yo, Caedmon - 3 yo, Chloe - 1 yo

In pictures . . .

And in video . . .