Studies show that people store used, dead, or corroded batteries because they inherently know they have value and should not be thrown in the trash. Some states, including California, have banned batteries from trash disposal. It’s time to provide consumers with a convenient way to recycle those batteries and put that valuable resource back into the economic mainstream, creating jobs in the process. Like most used products, batteries should be seen as a commodity and a business opportunity, not waste!
A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Marketplace video illustrates the magnitude of the problem; you will be surprised to see what people do with their batteries in the absence of convenient recycling and/or take-back programs.
According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s 2002 report Household Universal Waste Generation in California, more than 500 million batteries were sold in California in 2001. Only 0.55% of these were recycled through city and county household hazardous waste programs and at a significant cost to ratepayers and taxpayers; costs were estimated to exceed $31 million per year!
Supporting Battery Stewardship
In the video below, Assembly Member Das Williams explains the problems associated with battery disposal and discusses his 2014 legislation, AB 2284, which would have established a statewide stewardship program for household batteries. For the latest information on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation for household batteries, visit our Legislation page.
In 2013, 27 environmental organizations asked battery and lamp manufacturers to form a partnership to establish much needed take-back programs for their products:
- Environmentalists Target Battery Maker Rayovac for Bad Record on Recycling – Texas Campaign for the Environment Press Release, 7/31/13
- Environmental Groups Press Rayovac for Battery Recycling – Catherine Kavanaugh, Waste & Recycling News, 8/1/13
- Texas Campaign for the Environment’s “Take ’em Back Rayovac” Campaign
In 2011, CPSC was the primary grant partner on the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments’ pilot project to demonstrate how battery manufacturers can design a statewide stewardship program that provides convenient battery collection locations. The project found that 59 percent of Californians surveyed were aware of the disposal ban on batteries – but 56 percent still threw them in the trash.
Pictured – CPSC Executive Director Heidi Sanborn teaches consumers
how to put their batteries in a Call2Recycle collection box.
Power by Go Green – Powering a Green Revolution
Power by Go Green (formerly PerfPower Corporation) is a technology company offering sustainable products, including batteries, flashlights, and extension cords/surge protectors. Their GoGreen Alkaline Batteries are made of recycled materials and can be recycled free-of-charge using the company’s iRecycled program. They are also free of toxic lead, cadmium, or mercury.
Call2Recycle Battery Stewardship Program
Call2Recycle is North America’s first and largest battery stewardship program that collects and recycles rechargeables free-of-charge in the U.S. and Canada. Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted more than 100 million pounds of rechargeable batteries and cell phones from landfills.
Articles & Press
- Answering the Call2Recycle – Call2Recycle Newsbrief, 9/2015
- Energizer EcoAdvanced™ Battery Fact Sheet – Energizer
- Battery Industry Begins Shift to Producer Responsibility – CRRA Newsletter, Rob D’Arcy, 3/16/12
- Shock to the System – Waste Age Magazine, Heidi Sanborn, 12/11/11
- Managing Canada’s Waste Batteries – CM Consulting, Clarissa Morawski, 8/2012
- Potential “Free-Riders” in the US Battery Waste Stream and Summary Report of Analyses of Mercury from Consumer Batteries in the Waste Stream – NEMA, 3/2011
Studies by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association indicate that 1.5% of batteries coming back contain mercury.
- Life cycle Impacts of Alkaline Batteries With a Focus on End-of-life – MIT, 2/2011
Study conducted for NEMA confirming that collecting and recycling alkaline batteries is preferred to landfilling.
- Battery & Mobile Phone Stewardship Program for British Columbia – Call2Recycle Canada
- CalRecycle: Batteries
- Corporation for Battery Recycling – pilot battery stewardship program