Nearly 6,000 tons of batteries and cell phones were collected for recycling by Call2Recycle in 2014, marking a new record for the manufacturer-backed group.
The amount collected represented a roughly 3 percent increase over 2013’s haul, when 5,800 tons of batteries and cell phones were collected.
Founded in 1994, Call2Recycle is the first and largest consumer battery stewardship program in North America. The industry-funded nonprofit collects and recycles batteries and cell phones at no cost to the consumer.
“Since we measure our success by weight, this latest year of growth is even more impressive given that consumer batteries are getting smaller, lighter and lasting longer than in previous years,” Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle, stated in a press release.
Currently, the majority of the weight collected by Call2Recycle comes from businesses, as opposed to individual consumers, according to Jennifer Childress, director of communications for the group.
“In 2015 and beyond, we’re definitely trying to do more of a consumer push so everyday people are much more aware of where they can drop off batteries,” Childress said.
That public awareness campaign could include recycling events, newspaper ads, working with retailers to educate their sales staffs and social media, Childress says.
About 90 percent of U.S. and Canadian residents live within 10 miles of a battery drop-off location, according to Call2Recycle.
While the weight of collected batteries continues to increase, data on the recycling rate isn’t available, Childress said.
The collection volumes represent both single-use and rechargeable batteries from Canada and rechargeable batteries only from the U.S. The U.S. does not require recycling of single-use batteries, although Vermont is poised to become the first state to require manufacturers to fund single-use battery recycling when its extended producer responsibility law goes into effect in January 2016.
Since its first collection efforts began in 1996, Call2Recycle has collected 50,000 tons of batteries for recycling.