batteries / Kotkot32, ShutterstockVermont’s law mandating that producers fund the takeback and recycling of single-use batteries has helped significantly boost battery collections in the state. Meanwhile, collections are trending upward across the U.S. and Canada, according to Call2Recycle.

The stewardship group reports it collected a total of 7.3 million pounds of single-use and rechargeable batteries in the U.S. and Canada during the first half of 2016. That’s a 22 percent increase over collections during the first half of 2015.

In Vermont, over 54,000 pounds of batteries were collected during the first half of 2016, more than the 39,800 pounds collected in the Green Mountain State in all of 2015. Roughly 21,100 pounds were collected during the first half of 2015. Starting Jan. 1, Vermont became the first state to implement extended producer responsibility for single-use batteries, which are primarily alkaline batteries.

Vermont selected Call2Recycle, which already helmed a collection and recycling program for rechargeable batteries in the state, to manage the program expansion to single-use batteries.

Call2Recycle’s goal is to collect 20 percent of single-use batteries sold into the marketplace by 2020. The goal was partially based on its experience with extended producer responsibility for single-use batteries in British Columbia.

Earlier this year, Call2Recycle signed a contract to send some of the batteries it collects to Battery Solutions, which operates an automated sortation system in Howell, Mich. Battery Solutions says it’s the only operation in North America using automated sorting technology to separate batteries by chemistry so they can be recycled.