Besides the fact that electronics can take up space in landfills, electronics can be recycled as they contain materials, like valuable metals from motherboards and rechargeable batteries, which can be recovered and used in the production of new products.
Batteries also present safety risks to people, property, and the environment if they are improperly handled, stored or disposed of. If batteries, especially Lithium-based, are thrown away, they can cause a spark that could endanger individuals and surrounding property. Other types of batteries, such as Nickel Cadmium or lead-based batteries, can contaminate the environment if not properly disposed of.
“Recycling batteries and other e-waste helps ensure a closed circular loop. Batteries recycled in the Call2Recycle program provide valuable materials that are used in the manufacturing of new items, like silverware, golf clubs and new batteries. Recycling batteries helps reduce the need to mine for virgin materials,” says Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Call2Recycle, an Atlanta, Ga.-based recycling company, is addressing one of its unintended consequences as more people remain at home to comply with social distancing orders and are forced to purchase electronic devices to stay connected.
With more people at home – working remotely or supporting their kids’ online learning – many are purchasing electronics that contain rechargeable batteries or buying batteries to support their cordless devices. But, with local restrictions and collection sites or recycling locations operating with reduced staff, limited hours, or suspending their recycling programs, consumers may be forced to hold onto their old batteries or electronics until options are readily available again.
Due to their composition and the power they provide, Lithium-based batteries can pose a risk to health, safety, and property when handled, stored, and transported. Therefore, they are regulated as hazardous materials under the U.S. DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations.
Because DDR batteries can be dangerous and most retail locations are unable to accept them for recycling, Call2Recycle is offering a solution for consumers -- CellSafe Battery Return Kits.
“The U.S. DOT requires that damaged/defective/recalled (DDR) Lithium-based batteries adhere to special packaging, safety, and transportation requirements,” says Smith. “Damaged and/or defective Lithium-based batteries cannot be placed or transported in Call2Recycle’s general battery collection boxes and must be handled in a different manner.”
The CellSafe Battery Envelope Kit allows for the safe and compliant return of lithium-ion batteries. The compact envelope includes a reusable, fabric liner that offers protection from thermal runaways. The CellSafe Battery Box Kit is a mail-back kit that includes a reusable pillow-pack containing CellBlockEX, a 100% post-consumer recycled product that can safely suppress a battery fire should a thermal event occur.
“The CellSafe Battery Kits are intended to provide turnkey, off-the-shelf solutions for those receiving or collecting batteries internally or from the public, or for those needing to manage a battery or product recall,” says Smith. “It’s easy for consumers to purchase either the CellSafe DDR envelope or the box online to safely return DDR batteries from small electronics like laptops, tablets or cellphones, as well as larger batteries like power tools.”
The CellSafe products provide compliant solutions to help keep rechargeable batteries out of the waste stream, and to help keep workers in one of the most dangerous jobs, safe.
“Across the country, during the pandemic, recycling centers have been forced to suspend their recycling operations or operate under limited hours to keep workers and the public safe,” says Smith. “Should consumers encounter a DDR battery, appearing bloated, swollen, cracked, leaking or showing burn marks, they need to be handled properly and not disposed of in the regular trash.