Alison Tickell: Better Batteries

28 Sep 2011

Here at Julie’s Bicycle we’ve been looking at ways that the music and theatre industries can reduce their environmental impacts, from energy management to sustainably-sourced production materials, and more. Through recent conversations with Broadway and West End companies, we’ve managed to confirm a hunch we’ve had about rechargeable batteries for a while – that they are not only environmentally friendly, but they are very reliable and can deliver significant financial savings.

The Julie’s Bicycle Better Batteries campaign was born on 13th September at PLASA, the annual entertainment technology show in London. The Better Batteries campaign aims to sign up 100 performance venues and touring productions to make the switch from disposable to rechargeable batteries and increase the rate of recycling for both disposable and rechargeable batteries.

Rechargeable batteries have an incredible 32 times less impact on the environment throughout their lifecycle, and due to the decrease in quantities manufactured, they use less finite natural resources, and save on carbon emissions and pollution created by the manufacturing process, transport and distribution.

Not only that, but trials of rechargeable battery use in the entertainment industry show that rechargeable are good for your budget as well as the planet. The Broadway production of WICKED, for example, has been using nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries since October 2008 and, since then, has made savings of over $4,300 (£2,600) per year, replacing a turnover of 15,808 disposable batteries per year (38 per show) to a tiny 76 rechargeable batteries per year. The West End production of WICKED at the Apollo Victoria Theatre followed suit in June 2011 and broke even on the purchase of their rechargeable system 15 weeks after they started using it. So far they’ve saved purchasing over 2,500 batteries, equivalent to more than £500.

So, we think the switch to rechargeable is a positive thing all-round, and to help allay any anxieties about the reliability of the technology, we’ve put together a Better Batteries Practical Guide, available for download on our website and on the campaign homepage:

The homepage also has more detailed case studies, advice for organisations wanting to make the switch, and a link to sign up to the campaign for more information – get involved today!

Alison Tickell, Director, Julie’s Bicycle

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