Ikea, which sold 300 million alkaline batteries last year, will stop offering them in 2021

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,597   +124
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The big picture: After just 10 charges of a rechargeable NiMH battery, greenhouse gas emissions are lower versus using alkaline batteries that give off the same amount of energy. Ikea said. Hypothetically, if all Ikea customers switched from alkaline batteries to rechargeables and used them for 50 cycles, global waste would drop by as much as 5,000 tons annually, we’re told.

Swedish furniture maker Ikea this week announced plans to discontinue distribution of all non-rechargeable alkaline batteries by October 2021.

Ikea sold around 300 million alkaline batteries last year under the Alkalisk name. By phasing out alkaline batteries and focusing on rechargeable nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, the company can offer customers “an affordable and convenient solution to prolong the life of products and materials, and reduce waste,” said Caroline Reid, sustainability development manager at Ikea.

Ikea sells its own line of rechargeable AA batteries. A pack of four AA Ladda batteries will set you back $6.99 while a four-slot charger commands for $8.99. According to Ikea, a single Ladda battery can be recharged up to 500 times.

Worth pointing out is the fact that Ikea’s button-style lithium-ion batteries will persist as some of the company’s products still rely on these types of batteries to function.

What is your stance on rechargeable NiMH batteries? I know people that swear by them and others that insist on a cheap pack of disposable alkalines every time.

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Tom Yum

Posts: 28   +47
I've largely switched over to rechargeables, with all the kids toys and their habit of leaving them on to go flat, the convenience of just being able to put them on charge outweighed the increased cost pretty quickly, and is more convenient than buying 20 packs of Alkaline AA's every month or so. Key is to get a decent charger, some of the cheap ones are very slow and that is inconvenient.
 

TomSEA

Posts: 3,275   +1,930
I hate to say it, but 5,000 tons worldwide is really a nothing. As example, the water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools equals that. So you're only talking an acre of landfill for a worldwide Ikea supply.

We tried using rechargeable batteries at work (a Fire Department), and they simply lost power too quickly. The technology really needs to be to the point where rechargeables are at least 90% efficiency of a regular Alkaline battery before we'd consider it again.
 
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I hate to say it, but 5,000 tons worldwide is really a nothing. As example, the water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools equals that. So you're only talking an acre of landfill for a worldwide Ikea supply.

We tried using rechargeable batteries at work (a Fire Department), and they simply lost power too quickly. The technology really needs to be to the point where rechargeables are at least 90% efficiency of a regular Alkaline battery before we'd consider it again.
?????
I am using ENELOOPS and not only they keep their charge but the also offer higher amperage of course. In applications like LED flaslights Alkaline batteries are considered to be a joke for example - not enough power......same for pro cameras flashlights.

You need to buy proper NiMH 2000-2500mAh (ENELOOPS / PANASONIC) and a proper charger (around $60 or more)....then you will forget Alkaline crap for ever.
 

redhat

Posts: 112   +107
@TomSEA I have GP batteries and they are unbelievably great even alkaline one lasted a year in my mouse but latter I decided to move to rechargeable GP batteries and they are amazing
@techspot wish you make battery benchmark
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,238   +2,056
I have been using rechargeables since the 90s and Nickel Cadmium tech with the bad old memory effect. They moved on to the Metal Hydride and now the low self discharge variants. They keep most of their stored energy even after 6 months in the shelf.

The only real downside of these cells is if you have a device that requires the full 1.5v of an alkaline cell since all these rechargeable cells are 1.2v. I don't come across many that need alkalines any more though.
 
Alkaline....

whah.dat.b ??????????

Seriously though, I switched to rechargables when the earliest NiCads came out (now using NMH), for anything & everything I can/could, and have so many of them I've lost count :)
 
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johnehoffman

Posts: 41   +58
Both alkalines and NiMHs have their place.

NIMH are much more practical for high drain uses, such as toys, electronic flash (if you use it frequently), flashlights.Panasonic. Eneloops are better than regular (non-Eneloop) NiMH batteries when the items are only used ocasionally because the regular NiMH batteries will lose a significant part of their charge in as little as a couple of weeks. High quality regular NiMH batteries have larger energy ratings than do Eneloops and are best for high drain, frequent usage, where the Eneloop's ability to retain a charge for a longer time during non-usage is not important.

Alkalines are more practical for low use/low drain applications, such as TV remotes. They also hold their charge even longer than Eneloops, and thus are often best for rarely used items, such as flashlights kept for emergency use during power outages.

NiMH batteries last longer before shorting out if not fully drained between charges.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,060   +103
I still use alkalines mainly for all the quartz clocks around the house and TV / speaker remotes. I could've went ni-mh but it simply costs too much. a decent alkaline battery could've easily last 2 years. even my the alkaline battery on my logitech wireless mice lasted the same.

only use ni-mh for certain application like the old cordless phone and blood pressure meter which only takes 2x AAA, and I don't use it often.

for the rest of the toys, I've either hacked em to use 18650 (which I have plenty thanks to my old laptop) or I've hacked them to run on 5V USB in which I could easily power it with a powerbank. it's not difficult at all considering there's plenty of mini step-down or step-up board you can find on the market. also many torchlight around have been using 18650 for years, as the nimh simply cannot keep up.

in short: I'm still buying alkaline for clocks and not interested in ni-mh due to presence of 18650 cells.

 

CrisisDog

Posts: 185   +81
My kids go through batteries like crazy with VR and game console remotes. I’m using Duracell rechargeable, which I have had no issues with. Energizer on the other hand, stay away from their rechargeables...
 
Everyone knows that Eneloops are very decent rechargeables, but if someone is interessed how other models compare to them: Project Farm ("Let's find out") on Youtube tested a couple of rechargeables over a longer timeperiod and the Ikea Ladda did quite well. If someone is interessed:
E.g. at 6:25 and 6:50 are two of the diagrams.
 

Endymio

Posts: 623   +514
It's nice to see a company that doesn't care about profit and is willing to possibly lose money to make the world somewhat better
Ikea doesn't care about "making the world better", and this action won't make any measurable difference anyway. Ikea is simply catering to their customer base. On their financial statement this year, I'm sure there'll be a public image "good will" credit for this action that more than balances out the financial loss due to sales.
 
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Gus Fring

Posts: 53   +10
No , MOst ... PEOPLE KNOW F'ALL ABOUT Batterys an d simply go by whats on the packet. WOuld go rechg on everything buts its simply not worth it eg logitech mouse .
Rechg periphs are the way eg k830 keyboard .. requires recharging about onve a month , fine... lasted years (5+)
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,993   +2,458
I hate to say it, but 5,000 tons worldwide is really a nothing. As example, the water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools equals that. So you're only talking an acre of landfill for a worldwide Ikea supply.

We tried using rechargeable batteries at work (a Fire Department), and they simply lost power too quickly. The technology really needs to be to the point where rechargeables are at least 90% efficiency of a regular Alkaline battery before we'd consider it again.
Our hobby group tried to use rechargeables instead of 9V and AA, and found the same. The devices are built around alkalaine battery charges, not rechargeables, and the rechargeable battery life sucked by comparison. And the rechargeables were super expensive by comparison.

Not to mention that rechargeables present their own problems. Like fires, which we have had happen twice. Luckily both only consumed the battery, but its something weve never had happen on alkiline batteries. You have to be careful on quality when it comes to rechargeables.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 74   +80
My guess is Ikea will make better margins off the batter charger they're selling for $8.99 and the rechargeable batteries over the cheap alkaline ones.

Then the idea that folks will probably pick up 2 or maybe 3 charges so they can have a couple around the house to recharge batteries in several locations in the house for convenience or simply because they have multiple toys/devices that might need more batteries and you're not waiting for that single charger to finish, then swap batteries and wait for more to finish charging so you can get the toys/devices going again.

Now they have an idea of how to make better margins off something they sell a lot of. But how to make it sound good to the public......easy, folks like to hear about "green" and what they can do for the environment. Now it's just how to put a nice PR spin on it to make folks believe Ikea is just in it for the environment (which is generally just an after thought for any big company that's looking to make money, money, money).

We'll say you pick up at a minimum; 2 recharges and 3 - 4 packs of rechargeable batteries. That's almost $40.
Compared to buying 3 - 10 packs of alkalines which would cost you $9 ($2.99 for a 10pack)

They were probably making around $1.50 per 10pack of alkaline batteries.
Buy 1 - 10 pack of alkaline batteries; Ikea makes around $1.50
We'll say someone usually buys 3 packs when they visit, Ikea just made $4.50

I bet Ikea makes around $6 per charger and $4 per 4pack of batteries.
Buy 2 charges, 3 packs of batteries; Ikea makes around $24.

Even if Ikea only makes $4 per charger and $2 per 4pack of batteries:
Buy 2 charges, 3 packs of batteries; Ikea makes around $14

So, you tell me, is Ikea in it for the environment reason listed....or would it be best to believe they're in it for the money?
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 211   +203
You really gotta love the Swedes. Instead of pathetically whining about how inconvenient climate change is or about how saving the planet is costing so much money, they just do what needs to be done.

This is how a truly enlightened society acts, instead of denying reality, they just choose to live with it. This is why Sweden is so universally recognised and admired despite only having about 10 million people. They are a model of efficiency and sustainability. Imagine what they'd be capable of with a population of 100 million.

EDIT: Whatever happened to alkaline battery chargers? Back in 1993, SLM International created a battery charger that could safely recharge alkaline batteries. They called it "The Buddy L Super Charger" and I remember reading about it. Then a trend of "rechargeable alkaline" batteries came out from companies like Duracell and Eveready but they were more expensive than disposable alkalines and the Super Charger could recharge disposable alkalines safely. Do you think maybe the technology was bought by Duracell or Eveready and BURIED so that it wouldn't hurt their bottom line? I think it might have been because here's a news article that I found from the Buffalo News in Buffalo, USA:
In the article, it said that Duracell's stock price DROPPED $3 per share just from the announcement that this charger existed. I think that corporate America may be screwing over the world....again. It makes me wonder why Ikea doesn't offer an alkaline recharger.
 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 211   +203
I hate to say it, but 5,000 tons worldwide is really a nothing. As example, the water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools equals that. So you're only talking an acre of landfill for a worldwide Ikea supply.

We tried using rechargeable batteries at work (a Fire Department), and they simply lost power too quickly. The technology really needs to be to the point where rechargeables are at least 90% efficiency of a regular Alkaline battery before we'd consider it again.
That's 5,000 tonnes worldwide per year and it's increasing.

You: It's really a nothing
Ikea: Let's solve this problem while it's still easy to do so.

Now, I agree with you that for some very specific applications of high importance, like firefighter use, the potency and long single-charge life of alkalines could be vital. However, for 99.999% of uses, NiMH rechargeables work just fine.

Don't dismiss something just because it doesn't work in one situation because if NiMH batteries replaced disposable batteries in all cases where it wouldn't matter, the positive environmental impact would be colossal.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 623   +514
You really gotta love the Swedes. Instead of pathetically whining about how inconvenient climate change is or about how saving the planet is costing so much money, they just do what needs to be done.
Yeah, our lives are all so much better because we can't buy alkaline batteries at Ikea. 🙄
 

Endymio

Posts: 623   +514
That's 5,000 tonnes worldwide per year... Let's solve this problem while it's still easy to do so.
The primary components of an alkaline battery are zinc, brass, carbon, and some manganese dioxide. All of which came out of the ground in the first place. You dig it up, use it for a while, and then put it back in the ground. We could keep doing this for twenty thousand more years without any problems.
 

Nargg

Posts: 14   +13
I hate to say it, but 5,000 tons worldwide is really a nothing. As example, the water to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools equals that. So you're only talking an acre of landfill for a worldwide Ikea supply.
Water does not equal trash. 5000 tons of TRASH is a lot more than can fill a swimming pool. Bad analogy. Plus, this is just one company, if more did this the change would be dramatic.
 

Endymio

Posts: 623   +514
Water does not equal trash. 5000 tons of TRASH is a lot more than can fill a swimming pool. Bad analogy.
You have it exactly backwards. Alkaline batteries, being much denser than water, would occupy far less volume.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 211   +203
Ikea doesn't care about "making the world better", and this action won't make any measurable difference anyway. Ikea is simply catering to their customer base. On their financial statement this year, I'm sure there'll be a public image "good will" credit for this action that more than balances out the financial loss due to sales.
Catering to their customer base? Is there anyone over the age of twenty who isn't richer than Midas and hasn't been an Ikea customer at some point or another? This is a simple case of one company dropping what had to be a real cash cow for them. The "customer base" as you call it, bought 300 million batteries last year so clearly their "customer base" wants these batteries. You don't cater to your "customer base" by NOT selling what they've been buying. What Ikea is doing fits perfectly into the Swedish mindset, a mindset that is so alien to most Western countries that many people, especially Americans, refuse to believe it.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 623   +514
This is a simple case of one company dropping what had to be a real cash cow for them.
Ikea's revenues last year were 41 billion. Given the much lower margin they have on batteries than they do on furniture, their total profit on those batteries was miniscule. Further, I have no idea why you believe that essentially "everyone" shops at IKEA. They market heavily to young urban professionals, especially those who admire Scandinavian minimalism and profess themselves environmentally minded -- the very mindset which will be swayed by this decision.