Posts Tagged ‘batteries’

Guest Blog Addressing the Challenges of Measuring Recycling Performance

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:45 pm, June 8th, 2016Comments0

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Carl Smith, President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc.

Prior to becoming the head of a non-profit 12 years ago, I had spent most of my career with big for-profit companies where we measured everything. These measures provided continuous feedback on what was working and what needed to be fixed (or stopped). Upon arriving in the non-profit, product stewardship world, I noted that much less was measured and that organizational performance metrics were at best elusive.

One of the biggest frustrations we have is how to accurately assess the performance of our battery recycling efforts. The recycling field has typically relied on “diversion rates” as a measure; specific to battery collection and recycling, the more specific “collection rate” measure is typically used. As has been defined by the EU, battery collection rate is defined by the amount recycled in a year divided by the average annual sales of batteries for the previous three years. Like “diversion rates”, a “collection rate” is expressed as a percentage.

Traditionally, the focus of the Call2Recycle® program in the US has been on collecting and recycling rechargeable batteries. For a variety of reasons, this ‘typical’ approach to measuring our performance simply didn’t make sense.

First, fairly soon after I took this position, it became clear that rechargeable battery companies simply do not know what their consumer battery sales are into any specific jurisdiction. There are simply too many channels, applications and value chains to even estimate sales. For a very simple example, let’s look at how a big retailer like Walmart operates in the US. It purchases in vast quantities directly from a manufacturing facility in Asia. The facility transports via container ship to a West Coast port where they are then trucked to a distribution facility in a Midwestern state. Given the North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA), units could also be shipped to distribution centers in Canada and Mexico. Those distributions centers then fulfill store orders on a ‘just in time’ basis. So if you asked the manufacturer how many batteries it has sold in, for instance, the state of Vermont, it won’t know. It sold to Walmart and where they actually appeared in the US market is a mystery to them.

Second, the rechargeable batteries we’re collecting today are likely 5, 10 or even 20 years old. On average, they were certainly not sold during the three-year window that a typical collection rate calculation would measure. A related issue to this is the general inclination that consumers “hoard” electronics and batteries long after their useful life. How many old cellphones do you have sitting in a drawer? When is the last time you used your first power tool?

These issues are particularly difficult for rechargeable batteries which generally last longer than primary batteries, are hoarded more (with the products they power) and are sold through much more complex value chains. So the conventional approach to assessing our performance using a collection rate just didn’t work.

We commissioned a study to see if we could develop a methodology that was repeatable, credible and defensible that would provide us more insight into this issue. When we started the study, we focused on two stages:,

  1. develop a way of accurately measuring battery sales; and
  2. adjust sales for the lifespan of the batteries.

The more we immersed ourselves into this subject, a third issue emerged that was in the initial research requirements.

Increasingly, rechargeable batteries are designed so that they cannot be easily removed by the consumer, which generally means that they are not typically available to be recycled. Cellphones, tablets and laptops are the most obvious examples of this. But how about electric toothbrushes and cordless shavers? Even when the host product is recycled by, let’s say, an electronics recycler, the batteries are not typically the material most coveted in the process. Therefore, even if they are technically recycled with the host product, the process has not often been optimized to reclaim the precious material in the battery.

We maintain that embedded batteries are not generally available for collection by a battery stewardship program and should be excluded from the calculation of “collection rate”. So we added a third stage of this research: adjust sales downward by the amount of embedded batteries in order to determine an accurate assessment of the amount of batteries truly available for collection.

The outcome of this research – the paper available via this link – shows our results. It gives us a new denominator called “available for collection” that would replace the EU standards of the average of the last three years’ sales. In the end, we now say:

Collection Rate = Batteries Collected / Sales (Lifespan) – Embedded Batteries

In addition to the important data generated through this research, we came away with four important observations consistent with the conversation above:

  • For primary batteries, battery sales from “bricks and mortar” retail locations are less and less of the total market. There are many more diverse channels for batteries to enter the marketplace including, in particular, on-line markets.
  • A new method for measuring collection rates is needed for rechargeable batteries to measure collection performance. Such a method must meaningfully capture longer battery and product lifecycles and increases in embedded batteries.
  • While some but not all of the products that rechargeable batteries power are managed through other stewardship programs, they are generally getting “lost” in tracking performance.
  • It is imperative that collection programs incorporate long product lifecycles into their funding models, as batteries remain in market long after they are sold.

The last point is notable. Most battery stewardship programs charge stewards based on sales into the market. However, there may be a 20-year lag time between when steward fees are paid on a sale and when we incur the cost to collect and recycle the battery from that sale. This puts a strain on funding models that are often forced to minimize reserves that might take care of the long-term “tail” associated with rechargeable batteries.

In the end, we felt we “moved the needle” on creating a better way to measure performance. We also added to the conversation on the issues associated with battery collection and recycling. But we don’t believe we’ve totally solved the challenges, hopefully giving others the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.  

Carl E. Smith is President and CEO of Call2Recycle, Inc., North America’s leading product stewardship organization. With more than 35 years’ experience in environmental issues, program development, advocacy, corporate communications and technology, Carl is a nationally and internationally recognized spokesperson and leader in the corporate responsibility, sustainability and product stewardship arena. Carl leads the Atlanta-based non-for-profit organization in its efforts to help preserve the environment through responsible recycling of batteries among other products. Carl is also a GlobalPSC Executive Committee member and our Treasurer.

GlobalPSC Sustaining Corporate Member – The Compliance Map Ltd

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:22 pm, March 11th, 2016Comments1

 

Compliance Map develops solutions to help businesses manage their environmental compliance obligations arising from regulations and directives and to help optimize their use of resources. This includes product stewardship responsibilities, reporting and minimization of waste as well as carbon disclosure that will play a significant part in identifying, monitoring and driving down their customer’s global environmental impacts.

Both Product Stewardship and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations and standards are at the core of Compliance Map’s solution offering. This includes mechanisms to collect, store and produce remittance reports required for submission to EPR schemes for directives such as WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment), Battery as well as deposit and worldwide Packaging programmes. The solution offered automatically manages sales warehousing data and combines with relevant Packaging, WEEE, Battery, Oil, Beverage or Paint information to produce costs and weight reports ready to be remitted to registered schemes on a monthly, quarterly or annually basis. This enables companies to automate the entire process by which they track and report waste to schemes and programmes worldwide and make better use of their own resources.

Compliance Map are made of a team of regulatory compliance experts with over 20+ years of experience in the arena of environmental compliance which has been fed into their software solution offerings, creating a holistic approach to managing obligations businesses face in today’s regulatory climate.

 

Call2Recycle Set New Battery Recycling Records in 2015

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:16 pm, January 31st, 2016Comments1

 

Call2Recycle has reported that their collections increased five per cent during 2015 to a record 12.6 million pounds (5.7 million kilograms).

Since collections began in 1996, Call2Recycle has produced a year-over-year increase in the volume of batteries diverted from landfills and recycled for 19 consecutive years. Call2Recycle credits strong, collaborative relationships as the foundation for increasing consumer awareness and driving growing collection volumes. 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.

Over 7.1 million pounds (3.2 million kilograms) of batteries were collected in the U.S. in 2015, with the great lake states and mountain regions showing the greatest growth (12 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively). California collected more than 1 million pounds (0.45 million kilograms) of batteries for the 5th consecutive year.

Nearly 5.5 million pounds (2.5 million kilograms) of batteries were collected in Canada in 2015. Collections in British Columbia saw a 36 per cent increase in collections from last year, for a total of almost 1.4 million pounds (630,000 kilograms) of batteries.

“Our battery recycling results are directly linked to the vital support of our program participants, consumers and key constituents,” said Carl Smith, CEO & 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.”

 

GlobalPSC Members Support Product Stewardship in California

Posted by Brett Giddings at 8:01 pm, November 24th, 2015Comments1

 

San Francisco

On November 4th GlobalPSC members CalRecycle, Call2Recycle and PaintCare joined the California Product Stewardship Council and a range of government and industry representatives to provide perspectives on the role of legislation in driving product stewardship for household hazardous waste (HHW).

In a hearing held by the California Assembly Select Committee on Waste Reduction & Recycling in 21st Century California, participants expressed support for well-considered extended producer responsibility (EPR) to be trialled and ultimately introduced in the state for HHW; including batteries, used pharmaceuticals and sharps. The ubiquity of many HHW products and the potential threats they pose to the environment and human health were highlighted at the hearing, with estimates of approximately 600 million pounds being landfilled in the state each year.

With a ‘patchwork’ of ordinances being introduced in counties throughout the state, many agreed that state-wide EPR programs, underpinned by appropriate legislative frameworks, and managed by relevant industry bodies, would provide a more effective and efficient solution.

The hearing can viewed in full via this video posted by the California Product Stewardship Council.

 

Guest Blog – Battery Stewardship Moves to the Next Stage in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:11 pm, August 13th, 2015Comments4

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Dr Helen Lewis, Principal of Helen Lewis Research and Chief Executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI). 

 

At their last meeting in July, Australian Environment Ministers agreed to continue work on an industry-driven stewardship program for handheld batteries but with a focus on hazardous and rechargeable batteries only.

This is a significant win for Energizer, Duracell and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA), who have argued that battery stewardship for primary batteries would need to be regulated to ensure that all suppliers participate. During a Product Stewardship Institute battery recycling webinar (5/6 November 2014) Energizer’s spokesman advised that they had ‘zero tolerance’ for voluntary stewardship but would work with ABRI to develop a regulatory solution.

Handheld batteries are one of only two product categories that are still listed on the national ‘priority list’ for government action under the Product Stewardship Act. That list identifies products that the Minister for the Environment will consider for regulation or accreditation under the Act.

The Queensland Government is leading negotiations on the battery stewardship program on behalf of all government jurisdictions. A discussion paper, released in March 2014, outlined proposals for battery stewardship that were well received by most stakeholders but failed to secure the necessary level of industry support, particularly from primary battery manufacturers.

Following the Ministers’ decision to refine the scope to rechargeable and hazardous batteries only, a more focused proposal is expected to be developed by key industry associations and brand owners in late 2015 for broader consultation. While the exact scope of the stewardship scheme is yet to be defined, it is likely to include all handheld rechargeable batteries weighing less than 5kg as well as primary button cells. Button and coin cells have been the subject of extensive media coverage in Australia over the past two years due to an increasing number of infants and children presenting at hospitals with life threatening injuries associated with batteries.

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative will continue to advocate for ‘all battery’ recycling services because these offer the most convenient and environmentally-responsible solution for consumers. Existing battery recycling programs, which are funded by state government agencies, local councils and retailers such as ALDI and Battery World, already collect both primary and secondary batteries.

Nevertheless, the establishment of a national, voluntary stewardship scheme for rechargeable batteries would be a welcome development because it would increase industry engagement and improve the availability of recycling services. ABRI is working on a series of pilot projects for particular battery types to inform the design of a national program. The first of these, for power tool batteries, will commence in September this year.

At the same time ABRI will continue to work on regulatory options for primary batteries. These include stand-alone regulations (similar to the model legislation developed by the battery industry in the US) or extension of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include primary batteries. If discussions on a voluntary scheme for rechargeable batteries do not reach a successful outcome in 2016 then ABRI will argue that regulations should apply to all handheld batteries.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.  

Helen Lewis is part-time chief executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative. She has been actively involved in product stewardship initiatives for plastics, packaging and batteries for over 20 years. Helen is a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group

 

São Paulo Brazil Introduces Reverse Logistics Requirements for Products and Packaging

Posted by GlobalPSC at 6:34 pm, July 31st, 2015Comments1

São Paulo Brazil’s Department of the Environment has introduced obligations on manufacturers, importers, distributors and traders for reverse logistics systems for a range of products and packaging (with some specified exemptions). Specified products include:

  • used lubricating oil
  • edible oil
  • automotive oil filters
  • automotive batteries
  • portable batteries and batteries
  • electronic products and components
  • fluorescent, sodium vapor, mercury and mixed lights
  • scrap tires
  • expired or unused medicines

The GlobalPSC is in the process of seeking clarification of several key provisions and will advise accordingly.

 

Call2Recycle 2014 Annual Report

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:20 pm, May 21st, 2015Comments1

20th Anniversary Badge

Call2Recycle®, North America’s most successful battery collection program, has released its 2014 Annual Report. Call2Recycle attributes their 20 years of growth directly back to the investment of time, money and ideas by their stewards, partners and stakeholders. Two historic milestones are noted for 2014: cumulative battery collections of 100 million pounds (45 million kilograms) and 18 years of year-over-year increases in the volume of batteries collected. Other highlights include:

  • In 2014, Call2Recycle diverted nearly 12 million pounds (5.4 million kilograms) of batteries and cellphones from landfills
  • Battery collections in California topped more than 1 million pounds (454,000 kilograms) for the 3rd straight year
  • Collections in Canada reached over 2.2 million kilograms (4.4 million pounds) of batteries collected, and the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec recorded double-digit collection growth

 

Calls for Handheld Battery EPR in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:01 pm, February 9th, 2015Comments1

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) is calling for producer responsibility legislation for household batteries. ABRI has written to The Hon Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister for the Environment, asking the government to investigate co-regulation (equivalent to extended producer responsibility, or EPR) for handheld batteries.

ABRI notes the varying levels of support for voluntary and regulatory approaches, plus the recent efforts of the U.S.-based Corporation for Battery Recycling (including three of the largest single-use battery manufacturers) to work with other stakeholders to develop the Model Consumer Battery Stewardship Act. A media release regarding ABRI’s effort is available here.

Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) was established in late 2013 to develop a framework for a national battery product stewardship approach. Environment Ministers had stated that their preference was for a voluntary approach. Handheld batteries had also been designated as priority products for product stewardship. Research commissioned by the BIWG shows a recycling rate of only 2.7 per cent. Background research and BIWG recommendations for a voluntary approach are available here.

“ABRI would have preferred to see a voluntary battery stewardship scheme established in Australia, but our focus is now on building an appropriate regulatory framework. We are confident that this can be done in a way that meets everyone’s needs,” Helen Lewis, ABRI’s CEO (and member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group) told the GlobalPSC.

 

EPR’s Next Steps – US EPR Analysis by Scott Cassel

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:19 pm, December 21st, 2014Comments0

scottBack in 2000 the terms “product stewardship” and “extended producer responsibility” were rarely uttered in the U.S. Today there are 84 EPR laws in 33 states across 12 product categories.

These laws are spreading both in the U.S. and around the world, and for three basic reasons: They have saved millions of dollars for government agencies, they have created jobs and they have reduced waste by using materials more sustainably.

A recent article posted by Scott Cassel of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) in the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members provides a status update on EPR systems in the U.S. It identifies which products provide the greatest lessons and which offer new or emerging opportunities. It also lays out PSI’s ‘elements of a good EPR law’ and discusses key issues being debated in the field.

 

Last Day to Register – Webinar on U.S. Battery Product Stewardship Developments

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:31 pm, November 5th, 2014Comments0

 

The United States is on the verge of breakthrough legislation for both primary (single-use) and rechargeable batteries. This shift from a voluntary approach to a regulatory approach covering both battery types has coalesced over the past six months, as an increasing number of government agencies have expressed interest in a legislative solution to household battery management. This webinar will discuss the unique differences between the single-use and rechargeable battery industries, key issues that are being addressed to find a unified legislation solution, explore lessons for other countries such as Australia (where consultation is underway on a national battery stewardship scheme), and outstanding challenges faced by US state and local governments, manufacturers, retailers, and other key stakeholders in the year ahead.

The date of the webinar is:

  • if attending from Australia – Nov. 6th at 9 a.m. EST
  • if attending from the U.S. – Nov. 5th at 5 p.m. EST.

Please note the time change for U.S. participants.

Moderated by Scott Cassel, CEO & Founder, Product Stewardship Institute.

Speakers will include:

  • Marc Boolish, Director of Technology, Energizer Battery Manufacturing Inc, and President, Corporation for Battery Recycling
  • Carl Smith, CEO/President, Call2Recycle
  • Jen Holliday, Compliance Program and Product Stewardship Manager, Chittenden County, Vermont
  • Garth Hickle, Product Stewardship Team Leader, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Introduction by Russ Martin, CEO, Global Product Stewardship Council and Independent Chair, Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group.

Register here.

Registration is free for Australian residents thanks to our sponsors the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), TES-AMMQueensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and Canon, in partnership with the GlobalPSC. For details on how to register at no charge please contact Russ Martin at russ@globalpsc.net.

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