First-in-Nation Single-use Battery Recycling Law Passes in Vermont
Friday, May 9, 2014
Posted by: Rachel Rose Belew
Bill now goes to Gov. Shumlin for signing
Montpelier, Vermont – Single-use household battery manufacturers that sell or manufacture their products in the state of Vermont will be required to plan, implement, and manage a statewide battery collection program by 2016, per a bill passed last night by the Vermont House of Representatives.
The bill, known as H.695, “Act Relating to Establishing a Product Stewardship Program for Primary Batteries,” is a type of extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation that requires primary (single-use) battery manufacturers to fund and manage a take-back and recycling program on behalf of consumers. Once signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin, the bill will become the first EPR law in the country that covers primary batteries of multiple chemistries (e.g., alkaline, zinc carbon, lithium primary silver oxide, and zinc air). There is already a voluntary collection program in place for rechargeable batteries.
“We are incredibly fortunate in Vermont to have the collaboration of solid waste planning entities, the Vermont Product Stewardship Council, and the legislative leadership of Tony Klein, chair of the House Natural Resource and Energy Committee, and others to pass this first of its kind legislation in Vermont,” says Jen Holliday, product stewardship program manager for the Chittenden Solid Waste District and chair of the Vermont Product Stewardship Council. “This will keep millions of batteries out of the landfill and save resources without costing local government thousands of dollars a year to recycle them.”
It is estimated that more than 10 million batteries are sold in Vermont each year. However, there are very few recycling programs available to consumers. The law will require battery manufacturers to submit a plan to the state by July 2015 outlining how they will implement a convenient collection program. In accordance with the bill, the program will provide convenient battery drop-off locations for consumers at retail and municipal sites.
“This is a significant national milestone reached through the collaboration of both government and industry,” says Scott Cassel, chief executive officer of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), a national nonprofit whose work on EPR over the last 14 years has influenced the passage of many of the 80 EPR laws around the country. “However, more work remains to be done to develop a model program for the rest of the nation—one that collects both primary and rechargeable batteries so that it is convenient for consumers and fair for manufacturers.”
PSI, having played an instrumental role in laying the groundwork for primary battery EPR and in fueling the momentum toward fair and balanced legislative solutions, supported Vermont’s efforts to pass H.695. It should be noted that Holliday is also the president of the board of directors for PSI.
PSI will host a national battery stewardship dialogue meeting June 11-12 in Connecticut to develop a model program for primary and rechargeable batteries. The meeting is open to all interested stakeholders and is accessible in-person or via live internet streaming. For more information, visit www.productstewardship.us.
(802) 872-8100 ext. 223
Rachel Rose Belew
About Vermont Product Stewardship Council (VTPSC)
The Vermont Product Stewardship Council (VTPSC), formed in 2008, which is comprised of all the solid waste districts and alliances that represents over 85% of the population in Vermont. Our mission is to shift Vermont’s product waste management system from one focused on government funded and ratepayer financed waste diversion to one that relies on producer responsibility in order to reduce public costs and drive improvements in product design that promote environmental sustainability. The VTPSC has helped to pass EPR laws on mercury thermostats, mercury-containing lamps, electronics, paint and primary batteries. For more information visit, vermontpsc.org.
About Chittenden Solid Waste District
The Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) encompasses Chittenden County, and is the largest solid waste district in Vermont with a population of about 153,000. The District’s mission is to provide efficient, economical, and environmentally sound management of solid waste generated by member towns and cities and their residents and businesses. For more information visit, cswd.net.
About the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) is a national, membership-based nonprofit committed to reducing the health, safety, and environmental impacts of consumer products across their lifecycle with a strong focus on sustainable end-of-life management. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., we take a unique product stewardship approach to solving waste management problems by encouraging product design changes and mediating stakeholder dialogues. With 47 state environmental agency members, along with hundreds of local government members from coast-to-coast, and 95 corporate, business, academic, non-U.S. government, and organizational partners, we work to design, implement, evaluate, strengthen, and promote both legislative and voluntary product stewardship initiatives across North America. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/ProductStewardship. Follow us on Twitter @ProductSteward.