Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE) — a nonprofit, grassroots group known for its advocation of electronic waste recycling — has announced a campaign to press battery manufacturer Rayovac to step up its efforts on recycling and waste reduction. The organization asked Rayovac in May to begin taking back its batteries for recycling; now TCE has been joined by 26 other organizations from across the country calling on Rayovac to provide recycling for its batteries in the U.S., as it does in Europe.
“Rayovac is falling behind their competitors when it comes to battery recycling, and it’s past time for them to join these efforts toward sustainability,” Robin Schneider, Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment said. “We want them to take back their batteries for recycling, to set meaningful goals for these collections and to support legislation which would create a level playing field for battery recycling. These solutions have worked for electronics and a variety of other products nationwide, and now we want Rayovac to help make it a reality for batteries.”
Single-use batteries are banned from disposal in California and Europe, and are considered “universal waste” by the EPA — a category of widely produced, potentially hazardous products which should be kept out of normal disposal streams whenever possible.
Rayovac is one of the four largest manufacturers of single-use batteries. Duracell, Energizer and Panasonic have all taken steps towards establishing battery take-back recycling for consumers. These companies have formed the Corporation for Battery Recycling, but Rayovac pulled out of the group and instead instructs its customers to dispose of their batteries in the household trash. Rayovac also produces rechargeable batteries, which are toxic and even more widely banned from disposal.
TCE was joined in its campaign against Rayovac by organizations from 11 states, including Zero Waste Detroit; Eco-Cycle, based in Boulder, CO; the Electronics Takeback Coalition, based in San Francisco; and four groups based in Wisconsin, home to Rayovac’s parent company, Spectrum Brands.
“We are not afraid to take on big companies that are doing too little for the planet,” Schneider said. “We are also excited when we get to move from opposition to cooperation, and we expect that Rayovac will make changes sooner rather than later. Until then, we intend to organize support to hold these irresponsible companies accountable.”
Earlier this month, the Electronics Takeback Coalition released a report card that revealed that Staples, Best Buy and Office Depot are the only three national electronics retailers that are making an effort to help consumers responsibly recycle their old electronic products.