Posts Tagged ‘Carl Smith’

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 Expands Board for Greater Program and North American Coverage

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:22 pm, December 18th, 2015Comments2

The GlobalPSC Executive Committee (Board) recently expanded its coverage to include more members with practical program experience in implementing North American product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) approaches in addition to further deepening its policy expertise. These additions were reaffirmed and complemented by the Board and GlobalPSC members during our recent Annual General Meeting (AGM). These changes will further the GlobalPSC vision of facilitating the development and implementation of effective product stewardship schemes globally.

Recently, the Board expanded its coverage to include David Lawes (BC Used Oil Management Association), Kylie Hughes (Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection) and Mark Kurschner (Product Care Association). During the AGM, Carl Smith (Call2Recycle) was also appointed to the Board. All Board appointments, including long-serving members Scott CasselGarth Hickle and Ed Cordner were affirmed during the AGM and are valid for one year.

The GlobalPSC Board recognises the invaluable contributions of Neil Hastie during his years of service on the Board and as President. Neil has elected to step back from his GlobalPSC duties to focus on other pursuits. Neil has our continued appreciation and support.

During the AGM, the following Board members were elected as office-holders for one-year terms:

The President’s Report and Financial Report from the AGM are available to members.

 

Webinar – Battery Stewardship Developments in the U.S. A Joint Government and Industry Regulatory Solution for Single Use + Rechargeable Batteries

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:52 pm, October 2nd, 2014Comments3

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 US – Nov. 5th at 7 p.m. EST.

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.

GlobalPSC Priority Product Stewardship Workshop Presentations Available

Posted by GlobalPSC at 5:50 pm, November 25th, 2013Comments4

On 18 November 2013 in Port Melbourne, Australia, the GlobalPSC brought global leaders on product-specific producer responsibility collection and reprocessing initiatives together to help identify and learn from international best practice to assist Australia’s efforts to develop national product stewardship approaches for batteries, paint and other materials. Featured international speakers included:

• Carl Smith, CEO and President, Call2Recycle (North America)
• Alison Keane, Vice President Government Affairs, American Coatings Association, on behalf of PaintCare
• Mark Kurschner, President, Product Care Association (North America)
• Corinne Faure-Rochu, Director Business Development, Recupyl (France)

An interactive panel session included these speakers and other product-specific experts on batteries and paint from the USA, UK and Australia. Full program and details are available here. A special evening function sponsored by the GlobalPSC, Sustainability Victoria and Infoactiv provided even greater access to this international line-up for GlobalPSC members.

Thanks to our speakers, sponsors and supporters, we were able to make attendance free for GlobalPSC members in proportion to their membership level.

Presentations from the workshop have been provided to attendees and are now available on the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members under the Programs category in addition to being searchable in the Knowledge Base.

 

GlobalPSC Priority Product Stewardship Workshop

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:45 pm, August 30th, 2013Comments5

18 November, 2013
DHL, 18-22 Salmon St, Port Melbourne, Australia

Australia has released a priority list of products potentially covered under the Product Stewardship Act 2011. The designated products include:
• Waste paint
• End-of-life handheld batteries
• Packaging
• End-of-life air conditioners with small gas charges
• End-of-life refrigerators with small gas charges

The Act provides a framework for establishing voluntary, co-regulatory and regulatory approaches for product stewardship. Australia’s Environment Ministers have also developed plans for paint and battery product stewardship. The GlobalPSC is helping the Commonwealth and state governments facilitate the efforts for batteries and paint.

The GlobalPSC is bringing global leaders on product-specific producer responsibility collection and reprocessing initiatives to help identify and learn from international best practice to assist these efforts. Featured international speakers include:

• Carl Smith, CEO and President, Call2Recycle (North America)
• Alison Keane, Vice President Government Affairs, American Coatings Association
• Mark Kurschner, President, Product Care Association (North America)
• Corinne Faure-Rochu, Director Business Development, Recupyl (France)

Panel sessions will include these speakers and other product-specific experts on batteries and paint from the USA and Australia. A special evening function will enable even greater access to this international line-up for GlobalPSC members. Full program and details are available here.

Attendance is free for GlobalPSC members in proportion to their membership level (5 free for Sustaining Members, 2 for Standard Members and 1 for other categories) but registrations are necessary for catering. Registrations are $299 plus GST for non-members of the GlobalPSC. Event details, registration and payment information are available at http://globalpsc.eventbrite.com.au. Lunch will be provided for registered attendees.

 

Call2Recycle Cites Banner Year for Battery Recycling in Canada and California

Posted by GlobalPSC at 5:41 am, February 7th, 2013Comments0

North American battery collections increased to a record 10 million pounds (4.7 million kilograms) in 2012, up 16 percent from 2011 levels, according to Call2Recycle, a product stewardship organization managing the only no-cost collection program for batteries and mobile / cell phones in North America.

Call2Recycle attributes its success to especially strong collections in California and Canada, which collected over one million pounds each. California became the first state in the program’s history to achieve this milestone. The 11 percent statewide growth for California came from the municipal and manufacturing sectors, which increased by 23 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Battery collections grew by 56 percent in Canada for 2012. The increase can be accredited in part to its program expansion in Quebec, where Call2Recycle was selected by RECYC-QUÉBEC to serve as the official battery recycling program for the province. As of July 2012, Call2Recycle began accepting single-use household batteries for recycling in support of the provincial extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulation. As a result, 2012 collections in Quebec rose by 357 percent over 2011.

“Our 2012 performance is vitally linked to the support of our program participants, consumers, and key constituents,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle. “Without their environmental commitment, we would not be able to continue successfully collecting, transporting and recycling the millions of pounds of batteries across the US and Canada.”

Call2Recycle offers convenient battery collection sites through a network of over 30,000 retailers, municipalities, businesses and public agencies throughout the US and Canada and is a Corporate Member of the Global Product Stewardship Council. The GlobalPSC appreciates the long-term support of Call2Recycle and congratulates them on their continued success.

PSI Webinar – Voluntary and Mandatory Product Stewardship Programs

Posted by GlobalPSC at 6:01 pm, June 7th, 2012Comments0

The Product Stewardship Institute, a founding member of the GlobalPSC, is hosting a webinar on voluntary and mandatory product stewardship programs featuring a range of North American experts, most of whom are also GlobalPSC members.

 

Voluntary and Mandatory Product Stewardship Programs—Finding the balance between government regulation and private sector initiative
Thursday, June 14
1:00-2:30 PM ET/10:00-11:30 AM PT

 

Overview: The producer responsibility approach seeks to engage manufacturers in taking greater financial and management responsibility for reducing the environmental and social impacts of their products over the entire lifecycle. Product stewardship programs can take the form of voluntary industry-driven programs, as well as programs that are regulated. Which achieve better outcomes? Which are most cost effective? Which ones are paving the way forward toward the proper balance between government regulation and free market innovation? Which functions are better for government to manage and which should be the domain of producers? This webinar will explore a controversial topic about which there are many strong opinions. We will hear from those who advocate for all sides of the issue, in the U.S. and Canada.

Moderator: Scott Cassel, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Product Stewardship Institute

Speakers:

  • Walter Alcorn, Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Industry Sustainability, Consumer Electronics Association
  • Neil Hastie, President and CEO, Encorp Pacific
  • Carl Smith, CEO/President, Call2Recycle
  • Garth Hickle, Product Stewardship Team Leader, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • David Lawes, Head, Industry Product Stewardship, British Columbia Ministry of Environment
  • Sego Jackson, Principal Planner, Snohomish County, Washington
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