North American battery recycling program sets new record in 2015

North American battery recycling program sets new record in 2015

Call2Recycle recycled more than 12.6 million pounds of batteries in the United States and Canada.

January 19, 2016
Recycling Today Staff

Photo: Dreamstime


Atlanta-based Call2Recycle Inc., North America’s first and largest product stewardship organization managing the only no-cost battery and cellphone collection program, reported that its collections increased 5 percent during 2015 to a record 12.6 million pounds (5.7 million kilograms). Enhanced awareness contributed to record-breaking battery collections in the United States and Canada, the organization says.

“Our battery recycling results are directly linked to the vital support of our program participants, consumers and key constituents,” says Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle. “Without their environmental commitment, we would not be able to continue collecting and arguably become one of the most successful recycling programs in North America.”

This marks the 19th consecutive year the organization has generated a year-over-year increase (since collections began in 1996) in the volume of batteries diverted from landfills and recycled. Call2Recycle says it ensures that these items, which contain valuable resources, are responsibly recycled to create new batteries and other products, keeping potentially hazardous materials from entering the waste stream.

Call2Recycle has developed partnerships with a network of industry stewards (battery and product manufacturers), thousands of retailers and municipalities to make collecting and recycling batteries free and easy to consumers. Call2Recycle credits strong, collaborative relationships as the foundation for increasing consumer awareness and driving growing collection volumes.

Not surprisingly, states and provinces with strong participation and commitment from retailers and municipalities have greater collection results. In the U.S., 7.1 million pounds (3.2 million kilograms) of batteries were collected in 2015. The Great Lakes states and Mountain region saw the most growth at 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively. California also reached a significant milestone, collecting more than 1 million pounds (.45 million kilograms) of batteries for the fifth consecutive year.

Call2Recycle has established nearly 30,000 collection locations across North America. More than 90 percent of residents in the U.S. and Canada live within 10 miles (15 kilometers) of one of Call2Recycle’s public drop-off locations, the organization says.

“Working together with retailers and municipalities has enabled us to enhance awareness and convenience of our program across Canada, making it quick and easy for consumers to recycle batteries,” says Joe Zenobio, executive director of Call2Recycle Canada Inc. “We’re excited about our 2016 plans to build awareness about product stewardship through continued partnerships with the Retail Council of Canada, Earth Day Canada, Earth Rangers, Science World BC, Winnipeg Public Library and school boards from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island.”

Strong retail and municipal presence in Canada fostered the rise of collections in most provinces, which diverted nearly 5.5 million pounds (2.5 million kilograms) of batteries collectively. British Columbia was a major contributor with a 36 percent increase of collections from last year, totaling almost 1.4 million pounds (630,000 kilograms).