U.S. consumers recycled 7.2 million pounds of batteries in 2018 through the Call2Recycle program, according to the organization. These outcomes underscore the program's mission to responsibly recycle consumer batteries while increasing consumer focus on battery safety. Since the program's inception in 1994, more than 115 million pounds of batteries have been collected and recycled in the U.S.
While overall collections decreased compared to previous years, 2018 marked several program enhancements, including an increase in the removal of damaged, defective and recalled batteries from the market along with a 22 percent increase in single-use battery collections. National retail network collections also maintained strong organic collection growth amidst market changes, collecting nearly 2.8 million pounds of batteries.
"With increased reliance on batteries, action is critical to moving the needle on battery recycling," said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle, Inc., in a statement. "Despite fewer retail locations selling and accepting used batteries along with increased battery safety incidents, we are continuing to see greater consumer awareness to recycle batteries. Our recently commissioned research revealed that nearly 70 percent of households in California and Vermont now know that consumer batteries can be recycled. This provides us the opportunity to use this awareness to influence more consumers to recycle."
For Vermont—the first state in the U.S. requiring producers to finance a collection and recycling program for single-use batteries—2018 program efforts focused on awareness and engagement. Since launching its partnership in 2016 with Call2Recycle, Inc. as its appointed stewardship organization, 400,000 pounds of batteries have been recycled in Vermont. This includes more than 94,000 pounds of single-use batteries in 2018—an increase of 16 percent over 2017.
Consumers across the country can participate in the program by bringing their used batteries to a convenient drop-off location. In terms of accessibility, 86 percent of residents live within 10 miles of a Call2Recycle public drop-off location, making it an easy green habit to adopt.