- Call2Recycle reports that it collected a record-setting 14 million pounds of batteries and phones across the U.S. and Canada in 2016, a 12% increase by weight from the previous year, as reported by Recycling Today.
- Almost 8 million pounds of material was collected in the U.S., with more than half of that coming from consumer-facing networks. Collections from those public networks increased by 28% and collections from municipalities were up by 150%.
- The organization saw its largest jump in the number of primary batteries collected (158% increase) due in part to extended producer responsibility legislation in Vermont. More than 114,000 pounds of batteries were collected in the state last year.
These numbers were previewed by the organization last summer and the trends appear to have continued to help make 2016 a record year. Call2Recycle's partnership with Vermont to run the first program of its kind in the country played a key role in these increases and could be used as a model for other states considering similar legislation. Collections in Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia saw a similar increase to the organization's overall average, with Quebec collecting the largest amount of material.
The organization has been in action since 1994 and says it now has 30,000 drop-off locations which are within 10 miles of 88% of North American residents. While hiding old batteries in a drawer or throwing the odd one in with standard refuse may be common practice for some people groups like Call2Recycle have been working to make sure that doesn't happen.
When it comes to lead-acid batteries consumer education has proven even more effective and the Environmental Protection Agency estimated a nearly 99% diversion rate for them in 2014. Last fall, Nevada-based Aqua Metals announced that it had successfully produced the first ingot of almost 100% pure lead from batteries in a new refining facility so the potential for this material is only likely to increase.