American Recycler News, Inc.


Drop & Shop retail recycling programs work

Of those who “drop and shop,” 51 percent in the U.S. and 56 percent in Canada go beyond replacing what they just recycled to shop and buy other items, according to a recent study commissioned by Call2Recycle®, a product stewardship organization managing the only no-cost battery and cell phone collection program in North America.

Of those surveyed, 54 percent in the U.S. and 45 percent in Canada consider retailers a key source for learning about recycling programs where 18 percent of the U.S. population and 24 percent of the Canadian population participates in retail “take back” programs for the collection and recycling of batteries and cell phones.

This is good news for the many environmentally-committed retailers who offer take back programs for their customers. Major retailers such as The Home Depot, Best Buy, Canadian Tire, RadioShack and Lowe’s all offer on-site collection of recyclables, including rechargeable batteries. Up to 80 percent of battery and cell phone recyclers surveyed cited convenience as a major motive for participation and up to 80 percent of respondents say they have positive feelings about stores that offer such programs.

“When collection programs are convenient and accessible, busy consumers will integrate recycling into their routines, setting the stage for growth in recycling participation,” said Carl Smith, chief executive officer and president of Call2Recycle. Added Smith, “We are continuing to work with retailers to make it even easier for people still holding on to rechargeable batteries to fit recycling into their weekly errand list.” 91 percent of the U.S. population has access to a Call2Recycle battery collection location within 10 miles of their residence.

According to the response data, consumer support of product recycling is heavily influenced by three key factors: the mode of product collection; how accessible the collection program is for consumers; and their general awareness of take back programs. Batteries and cell phones, among other products, are primarily collected at retail outlets where consumers already shop.

Call2Recycle counts consumer participation through the retailer’s programs as part of its record of more than 70 million lbs. (34 million kilograms) of rechargeable batteries diverted from the waste stream. This participation can only increase as 67 percent and 75 percent of non-battery and cell phone recyclers surveyed, in the U.S. and Canada respectively, say they intend to recycle in the future.