Before leaving office at the end of 2010, then-New York Gov. David Paterson signed one final recycling bill into law. The bill requires manufacturers of rechargeable batteries to finance and operate recycling programs for the products. The programs are to be free of charge to the public.
The law requires the manufacturers to submit their recycling programs to the state by mid-March of this year and to begin operating the programs by mid-June. Under the law, retailers that sell rechargeable batteries must post signs informing consumers of the recycling programs and must accept used batteries from the public. The manufacturers also will be required to submit annual reports to the state detailing their recycling efforts.
Approximately 3.8 million pounds of rechargeable batteries reach the end of their usefulness each year in the state, according to the office of New York Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.
“By preventing consumers from throwing these items in the trash and ensuring that retailers and manufacturers take responsibility for disposing of them properly, we’ll keep dangerous substances out of our air and water,” Kavanagh said in a statement. “Recycling and reuse are the path to a sustainable economy and a healthy environment, and we’re committed to making sure that New York leads the way.”
New York State Senator Liz Krueger, the other co-sponsor of the legislation, echoed Kavanagh’s sentiments. “With the governor’s signature, New York State is making the statement that through extended producer responsibility, manufacturers’ accountability does not end once their products are sold,” she said in a statement. “The final approval of this legislation removes the full burden of accountability from the consumer and shifts responsibility to the experts so that these products will be properly disposed of and recycled.”
The bill had the support of such environmental organizations as the Sierra Club, the Environmental Advocates of New York and the New York Product Stewardship Council.
Paterson’s approval of the rechargeable battery law came only months after he signed the Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act into law. Under the terms of the law, electronic manufacturers selling in the state must begin offering free e-waste collection programs for residents by April 1. Based on their market share in the state, the manufacturers must then recycle or re-use a certain percentage of the collected materials. Items that manufacturers are required to accept include computers, monitors, televisions, keyboards, printers, VCRs, DVDs and MP3 players. (For a complete list of the covered electronics, visit www.dec.ny.gov and click on the “Chemical and Pollution Control” link. After that, click on the “Waste Management” and then the “Special Wastes” links.)
Electronics manufacturers will have to submit annual reports to the state verifying their e-waste recycling efforts. The law also includes an e-waste disposal ban.
In other news concerning rechargeable battery recycling:
• Call2Recycle, the free battery and cell phone recycling program, has opened a new office in Toronto and has appointed Joe Zenobio executive director of its Canadian operations. Previously, Zenobio was an executive at GS1, an e-commerce business.
“The battery recycling landscape is changing rapidly in Canada as provincial governments, the battery industry and consumers seek a mutually-beneficial solution for keeping batteries out of the waste stream,” said Carl Smith, president and CEO of Call2Recycle, in a press release. “Joe’s experience in managing strategies to address the needs of multiple stakeholders is already proving to be beneficial as our program continues to grow in Canada.”
Additionally, Atlanta-based Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp., which runs the Call2Recycle program, has appointed a Canadian board of directors to oversee the program’s operations in Canada.