By Patricia Escarcega on Mar 6, 2013

Calif. Bill Calls for Single-Use Battery Recycling

Photo: Flickr/JohnSeb

Calif. Assemblyman Das Williams (D) has introduced a bill to the state legislature which would create a recycling and disposal program for all non-rechargeable, single-use household batteries sold in the state.

In early 2006, household batteries were prohibited from being disposed of in solid waste landfills in California. However, currently there is no system in place for managing discarded single-use batteries, making it difficult for consumers to find places to recycle old batteries.

“Banning batteries from disposal without making recycling easy is frustrating for the public. The goal of this bill is to provide convenient recycling opportunities statewide to make it easy for consumers to comply with the law,” said Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council, in a press release.

Assembly Bill 488 would require producers of single-use household batteries to submit a stewardship plan to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

California state law already requires producers and retailers of rechargeable batteries to collect used rechargeable batteries from consumers. However, currently there is no such mandatory take-back system for single-use alkaline batteries.

Approximately 80 percent of batteries sold in California are alkaline batteries, according to the assembly bill. Managing discarded batteries costs local governments and taxpayers up to $2,700 per ton, which adds up to tens of millions of dollars each year.

“This is a perfect example of how producers, local governments and retailers can unite to help meet a greater good,” Assemblyman Williams said in a press release. “By changing our habits in little ways such as recycling batteries, we can collectively make dramatic changes to help the environment and save money.”

The bill may be heard in committee as early as March 22. If passed, the proposed law would take effect on January 1, 2015.

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      • swissms

        This is actually quite a scandal that in 2013 batteries are still going into the trash because inadequate facilities are set up to recycle them. In Switzerland, every supermarket has a place to take old batteries, lightbulbs, and recyclable PET bottles. Any place that sells batteries should have a box to collect them so that the store can arrange to dispose of them properly.

        I just talked to a young woman who assumed that she could just throw her old batteries into her recycling bin. That would be a solution as well if the municipalities were set up to handle those batteries. Unfortunately, she is sadly misinformed.