There is a direct correlation between the way that we care for our batteries, and the amount of energy we can get out of them before they have to be recycled or trashed. Normally, batteries should die only when all of the stored chemical energy has been used, or from deterioration caused by corrosion. Some of the things that cause batteries to die earlier than what is reasonable include, but are not limited to; overcharging, over discharging, excessive charge rates, excessive discharge rates and improper equalization (Corey, Nine Ways To Murder Your Battery). These poor practices can cause the chemical properties inside the batteries to diminish, which may prevent them from being converted to electrical energy. If this happens, then the batteries are rendered non-functional. Following a proper charging routine means that you don’t have to buy batteries as often, battery manufacturing decreases, and ultimately so does the amount of waste that is added to our environment. The following is a list of best practices for getting the most life out of your batteries.
1. Remove all dead batteries from your device immediately.
2. Read the instructions for your device, and make sure to install the type of battery recommended.
3. Each discharge/recharge cycle will partially wear down the battery, so it is important to keep track of how often you have to go through this cycle. Do so only when necessary.
4. Do not fully discharge battery, as this could damage it. (It turns out that some batteries, nickel based, perform best with periodic deep discharges, but this is not the standard.)
5. Wait until your battery has discharged partially before recharging it again.
6. Short battery life in some devices can be attributed to excessive heat. Make sure that your device is used in moderate temperature.
7. After a battery is fully charged, as indicated by the green light, take it out of the charger.
8. Be informed! There are many types of batteries with differing chemical compositions, which require unique charging routines. Do research, and remember, Google is your friend.
Nine Ways To Murder Your Battery
Naked Science Forum
Wikipedia: Battery (electricity)
Batteries in a Portable World
Battery University: How to Charge - When to Charge