When battery industry experts told Energizer that creating a long-lasting, recyclable battery out of used, worn-out batteries was impossible, Energizer’s scientists refused to give up trying.
Their efforts were inspired by an “ah-ha” moment they’d had seven years earlier, when they stood before a heap of discarded battery material at a recycling facility. What if, instead of simply discarding used batteries to take up space in landfills, consumers could reuse them? What if Energizer could make something valuable out of what might otherwise be considered waste?
Powering a dream
It took seven years of painstaking research, trial, and error, but their perseverance paid off. Recently, Energizer released EcoAdvancedTM- the world’s first AA alkaline battery made of recycled battery material, and coincidentally, the longest-lasting alkaline battery in the company’s product portfolio. Currently made with 4 percent recycled battery material-and on track to be made with 40 percent recycled battery material by 2025-the product is an innovative new option for environmentally-conscious consumers.
“On that day back in 2008, we challenged ourselves to make the impossible possible: to create a battery using closed loop innovation without compromising performance. And that’s just what our world-class scientists did,” says Energizer Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Atkinson. “Through a proprietary process and partnerships, they were able to transform and refine the recycled battery material into a high performing active ingredient that, when used in conjunction with Energizer technology, resulted in EcoAdvancedTM.”
A reduced impact on the planet
Energizer EcoAdvancedTM batteries are long-lasting, recyclable batteries that require less frequent replacement, which means fewer post-consumer batteries in the waste stream. On top of this, less virgin material extraction means less resource depletion, less energy consumption, and fewer greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Through life cycle assessment, Energizer has found that each EcoAdvancedTM battery significantly reduces greenhouse gases, when compared to Energizer alkaline batteries that do not contain recycled material.
“This innovative product represents a genuine technological and environmental advancement,” says Scott Cassel, chief executive officer of PSI. “It reduces both upstream and downstream lifecycle impacts, such as materials mining, energy use, and waste generation, which are tied directly to climate change. We will be especially excited about this development when Energizer hits its 40 percent recycled battery material goal, as this will indicate significant progress toward sustainability and product stewardship.”
Efforts to increase recycling
Energizer has worked closely with PSI over the years to explore battery recycling options. At a PSI-facilitated meeting last June, Energizer, along with the Corporation for Battery Recycling, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association, and Call2Recycle, unveiled first-in-the-nation proposed extended producer responsibility legislation covering both single-use and rechargeable batteries.
PSI continues to work with the battery industry to develop a bill that meets the needs of, and is supported by, consumers, government, industry, recyclers, retailers, and other stakeholders. A bill covering both single-use and rechargeable batteries is expected to be introduced in Connecticut this year. In conjunction with this bill, Energizer will be one of many manufacturers required to implement Vermont’s new single-use battery producer responsibility law passed in 2014. PSI hopes to see Energizer continue to progress as a leader in battery innovation and will work with the company to help it achieve its goals.
If you would like to learn more about the Energizer EcoAdvancedTM battery and battery recycling, join PSI and Energizer for a special webinar presentation and facilitated discussion on Tuesday, March 31st, from 3:00 - 4:30 PM. Details to follow on the PSI website.
(To read Energizer’s official press release on the release of EcoAdvancedTM, click here.)