MONTPELIER >> Call2Recycle, Inc., (Call2Recycle), North America's largest consumer battery stewardship organization, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources announced the official launch of the statewide program for the responsible recycling of single-use (primary) batteries. The announcement was made Jan. 28 at the Vermont State House.
Effective Jan. 1, 2016, Vermont's first-in-the-nation legislation requires single-use battery manufacturers to participate in a program that manages the responsible disposal of batteries sold in the state (Act 139). The legislation leads the way for a more convenient way for Vermont residents to dispose of their batteries as Vermont residents are now able to recycle all their household batteries, including AA, AAA, C, D, among other battery-types, by bringing them to drop-off locations throughout the state. The program comes at no cost to the state or to Vermont residents.
"Vermont is once again demonstrating its environmental leadership," said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz. "This program makes it easy for all Vermonters to become product stewards by dramatically increasing their rate of battery recycling. Dead batteries no longer have to be buried in a landfill or hoarded in junk drawers."
While 70 percent of Vermonters are aware household batteries can be recycled, only 42 percent have actually recycled their batteries in the past year. In 2015, there were over 650,000 pounds of batteries sold in Vermont, but only 36,000 pounds were collected for recycling. This initiative will simplify battery recycling for Vermont residents, as they will no longer need to separate single-use batteries from rechargeable batteries. Accessibility is also an important factor, as Vermont residents will be able to bring their spent batteries to over 100 convenient drop-off sites, including retailers, municipalities, libraries, and other frequently visited locations.
The event also signaled the launch of Call2Recycle's statewide school battery recycling challenge, a contest that seeks to increase awareness of battery recycling among students in Vermont. Andrew Sirjord, Chairman of Call2Recycle, Inc. said: "As the stewardship program approved by Vermont we are excited to continue our important work in Vermont through an expanded program. We can all contribute and help give a new life to batteries." And he continued: "The behavior that motivates battery recycling starts at home and our youth can play a key role in this effort, which is why we are promoting initiatives such as the Vermont School Battery Recycling Challenge."
Vermont schools, grades 5 and 6, can go to www.call2recycle.org/vermont and sign-up before National Battery Day, Feb. 18. All participant schools will enter to collect the most batteries and the school that can collect the most batteries (in pounds) per student will be rewarded with a special celebration.
"It's not that often that I am presented with the opportunity to introduce a bill that is so clearly a win-win-win — a win for the environment, for the people of Vermont, and for the manufacturers of what has become an essential product in our daily lives, to demonstrate good product stewardship in action," said Representative Tony Klein, chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy committee. "With the help of students like those here today, we can make a real difference in protecting Vermont's environment."
A group of students from the Montpelier Main Street Middle School Green Team joined the event to present their battery recycling experience and participate as junior environmental reporters.
For more information on the school challenge, drop-off locations and battery recycling in Vermont please visit www.call2recycle.org/vermont
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