by Mary Hain, Hain Communications
Have you been throwing used batteries from your TV remote, flashlight or toys into the trash?
Stop! Until recently that was an acceptable practice. However, since Jan. 1, of this year, CSWD Drop-Off Centers, Environmental Depot, “Rover” mobile collection unit and 135 other sites around Vermont are accepting both single-use batteries (alkaline or primary like AA, AAA, 9v, etc.) and rechargeable batteries for recycling.
“Convenience is an important aspect of having a successful program. We not only accept used household batteries at our facilities, we also encourage residents to visit Call2Recycle retail locations throughout Vermont,” said Jen Holliday, product stewardship program manager for CSWD, and chair of the Vermont Product Stewardship Council (VPSC). “Our goal is to inspire people to take the extra step and keep used batteries out of our landfill.”
As of the July 2016, CSWD had shipped a total of 14,500 lbs. of used batteries, well above its battery shipments for all of 2015. Primary batteries made up more than half of the 2016 battery shipments, indicating that many residents are taking advantage of the new program. Chittenden County has shipped 182,250 lbs. of batteries or 270 drums of batteries since joining the Call2Recycle program in 1999.
Single-use battery collections are a direct result of a product stewardship law the Vermont legislature passed in 2014. The law (H. 695) requires single-use battery manufacturers that sell product in the state to pay for the collection and recycling of their products. Rechargeables have been voluntarily recycled by manufacturers since 1994. Under the program, battery recycling is free of charge for residents.
Call2Recycle, Inc. North America’s largest consumer battery stewardship organization, is overseeing the state-wide program on behalf of manufacturers. Today 96% of Vermont residents have a Call2Recycle collection site within 10 miles of their homes in addition to the CSWD sites.
What happens to the batteries that Call2Recycle collects? They are first sorted by type, then shipped to North American specialty processors. Usable chemicals and metals are extracted for use in manufacturing new batteries, stainless steel and cement additives.
Chittenden residents can find out more on the county web site, in household hazardous waste brochures and flyers, this blog post and on Twitter. You can also find out more about what batteries are accepted and how they are recycled on the Call2Recycle web site.