American Recycler News, Inc.


7,800 pounds of batteries collected for recycling

A battery-recycling project funded by a grant from CalRecycle has collected more than 7,800 lbs. of batteries since January 2011.

Heidi Sanborn, executive director of California Product Stewardship Council, instructs Monrovia city council member, Becky Shelvin, to place used household batteries into recycling box at Digitech Camera Repair in Monrovia as store owner, John Berberian looks on.

Over the duration of the project, organized by San Gabriel Council of Governments (SGVCOG), 40 local businesses served as battery take-back sites for communities across the San Gabriel Valley, California.

Although the grant ended March 31, Call2Recycle and the SGVCOG will continue to support these businesses in order to allow them to remain battery take-back sites. Call2Recycle will provide the collection boxes, shipping expenses and recycling at no cost to the sites and the SGVCOG will provide technical assistance as well as promoting awareness.

Project findings provide useful data to inform the national efforts to develop a producer-funded alkaline battery-recycling program. In 2010, this project conducted focus groups to determine public awareness in the San Gabriel Valley regarding hazardous waste product disposal and California law. Findings indicated that 59 percent of those surveyed were aware of the disposal ban on batteries – but 56 percent still threw them in the trash.

“We wanted to inform the community as to why throwing products like batteries and fluorescent lamps in the trash is illegal in addition to providing them with convenient recycling opportunities,” said Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council, the major project partner supporting the SGVCOG.

The real key to the project’s success are the 40 local businesses that serve as take-back locations as well as the public that participated and brought their batteries to these collection sites. This approach rewards the sites for their commitment to environmental stewardship – a “vote with your dollars” free market approach.

Household batteries and fluorescent lamps were banned from trash disposal in 2006. All household batteries under 11 pounds can be recycled at any of the take-back locations.

To support lamp recycling the project also co-sponsored a two day lamp recycling event and provided information about permanent collection sites.