It seems like every time I turn around these days, there is a gadget, toy or instrument that needs some kind of battery. If your child is like 'B', I'm sure you're familiar with the routine of constantly changing batteries on items that are used daily, or are accidentally left on. Over time, constantly replacing disposable alkaline batteries adds up in terms of actual cost to you and harm to the environment.
Rechargeable batteries are a great way to power your modern family life. They are made to be recharged over and over, and once they do eventually 'die', they are easily recycled at your local Radio Shack or Home Depot. This is because the materials in rechargeables are in high demand, and the production system for them was designed with recycling in mind. Regular 'disposable' batteries are manufactured for one time use and contain toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc on the environment once their outer casings have decayed in a landfill, and I cringe every time I have to put one in the trash.
We have a 'battery department' in our house, where we keep all the batteries and the charger. This way we know where to find batteries when we need them, and have a centralized placed to manage storing, testing, recharging, and disposal of dead batteries. The 'battery department' occupies one of the highest cubbies in our cubby wall unit to keep the batteries and the charger away from little hands. The charger handles all the common battery sizes and comes with a handy removable battery tester that works on any cell (AA, AAA, C, D, and 9 volt) battery - rechargeable or disposable.
Rechargeables may be a little more pricey than a disposable battery, but they eventually pay for themselves in through continued recharging and reuse. Additionally, when comparing the cost of disposable and rechargeable batteries, one has to keep in mind that the health and environmental cost for disposable batteries is not factored into their purchase price.
I've been using rechargeable batteries for years and have found that Batteryspace.com is the best source for rechargeable batteries (and any other batteries you might need to replace). They offer a quality products at reasonable prices and have complete rechargeable battery kits to get you started like these: