Posts Tagged ‘rechargeable’

Guest Blog – Addressing the Challenges of Measuring Recycling Performance

Posted by GlobalPSC at 4:45 pm, June 8th, 2016Comments1

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.

 

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

 

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.

Australian Report Shows Low Handheld Battery Recycling Rate

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:15 pm, July 14th, 2014Comments2

 

Batteries cr1Australia has today released a material flow analysis showing that handheld batteries are being recycled at a rate of only 2.7 per cent.

 

Approximately 400 million handheld batteries weighing 5kg or less were sold in Australia in 2012-13. For the same time period, 14,703 tonnes of batteries were disposed of and 403 tonnes were collected for recycling. Recovery rates for sealed lead acid, nickel cadmium, lithium primary and nickel metal hydride batteries were all in the 4.4 – 5.5 per cent range, while the recovery rate for alkaline and zinc carbon batteries was estimated at 1.6 per cent.

Batteries were collected through different channels including commercial collections (139 tonnes), retail store drop-off (111 tonnes), e-waste collections (45 tonnes), household hazardous waste collections (16 tonnes) and other recovery routes (91 tonnes). The rest (14,345 tonnes) were disposed to landfill.

On a unit number basis, 90 per cent of the batteries sales proposed to be subject to the Australian product stewardship scheme are single‐use batteries and 10% are rechargeable batteries. On a weight basis, 50% are single‐use and 50% are rechargeable.

Consumption trends indicate that lithium ion batteries will continue to grow as a proportion of all battery sales, increasing from around 24 per cent in 2013 to 33 per cent in 2020.

The report, ‘Study into market share and stocks and flows of handheld batteries in Australia’, was commissioned by the Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) on behalf of Australian governments to assist in developing a national battery product stewardship scheme for Australia. Environment Ministers agreed on the need to include end-of-life handheld batteries and waste paint in the Standing Council on Environment and Water’s work plan. The Australian Government identified handheld batteries as priority products potentially covered under Australia’s Product Stewardship Act in 2013 and reaffirmed their designation in 2014.

Sustainable Resource Use (SRU), in association with Perchards Ltd and Sagis Ltd, conducted the work to provide an evidence base to inform the work of the BIWG.

The report is available to GlobalPSC members in the Knowledge Base, under the Batteries tab.

 

GlobalPSC Corporate Member – Call2Recycle

Posted by GlobalPSC at 7:34 am, August 31st, 2012Comments20

 

 

 

Call2Recycle is the only no cost rechargeable battery and cellphone collection program in North America. Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted over 100 million pounds (45 million kilograms) of batteries from the solid waste stream and established a network of 30,000 collection sites throughout the U.S. and Canada. Advancing green business practices and environmental sustainability, Call2Recycle is the most active voice promoting eco-safe reclamation and recycling of rechargeable batteries and cellphones. It is the first program of its kind to receive the Responsible Recycling Practices Standard (R2) certification, as well as e-Steward recognition from the Basel Action Network (BAN).  Founded in 1994, Call2Recycle is operated by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a non-profit organization funded by product manufacturers across the globe committed to environmentally-sound recycling of rechargeable batteries and cellphones. These manufacturers place the RBRC recycling seal on their rechargeable products and batteries, informing users that they are recyclable.

CEO and President Carl Smith serves as Treasurer of the GlobalPSC.

 

 

Carl Smith – Treasurer of GlobalPSC CEO and President of Call2Recycle

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:50 pm, April 26th, 2012Comments4

Carl E. Smith is CEO and President 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.

With over 322 million wireless devices (phones, tablets, and e-readers) in use in the U.S. alone, all powered by rechargeable batteries, promoting the recycling of batteries is more important than ever before. For over 20 years, Call2Recyle, Inc. has worked with private organizations and municipalities to help find solutions to the battery challenge. Most recently, the Call2Recycle program was selected by the state of Vermont as the only program approved by the state to provide primary and rechargeable battery recycling that can help keep batteries off from landfills.

By spearheading a collaborative, multi-industry effort to define what a successful product stewardship program should look like, Carl has helped transform the landscape of corporate stewardship and sustainability across the nation.

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