A record 7.3 million pounds of single-use and rechargeable batteries have been recycled in 2016 as of the mid-year mark, an increase of 20 percent compared to the same time period last year, reports Call2Recycle Inc..
This achievement contributes to the more than 115 million pounds of batteries diverted from U.S. and Canadian landfills and responsibly recycled by the organization over the past 20 years.
In the U.S., retailers and municipalities contributed to the growth in battery collections, up 17 percent and 147 percent respectively this year, resulting in almost 2.4 million pounds accumulated.
The organization said some of the success is due to Vermont becoming the first state in the U.S. requiring producers to finance a collection and recycling program for single-use (primary) batteries. As the appointed stewardship organization, Call2Recycle provides drop-off locations for residents to responsibly recycle their batteries. As a result, more than 54,000 pounds of batteries have been collected in Vermont since the program launched in January, more than what was collected in the state in all of 2015.
"Cultivating educated consumers and committed partners is vital to driving battery collection growth across North America," Call2Recycle CEO & President Carl Smith said in a statement. "We're rapidly expanding our reach with municipalities, retailers, and other consumer-facing collection sites to make battery recycling more accessible and convenient for all."
In Canada, collections rose 24 percent compared to last year, resulting in 3.2 million pounds recycled year-to-date. Quebec leads the charge on recycling, collecting more than 1.3 million pounds. Battery collections in Manitoba also saw a significant increase in collections, up 52 percent from last year, as did all other provinces (including British Columbia and Ontario) which recorded double-digit growth. As the result of dedicated consumer-focused campaigns, publicly accessible channels - municipalities (up 40 percent) and retailers (up 16 percent) across Canada - also contributed to the growth.
"We are encouraged to see such positive battery recycling growth across Canada from all channels," Joe Zenobio, executive director of Call2Recycle Canada, said in a statement."This is a direct result of the continued commitment from our stewards, collection sites and the public - all working together to make a positive environmental impact."