Assemblyman Das Williams on Tuesday introduced Assembly Bill 488, which would create a recycling and disposal program for non-rechargeable batteries sold in the state.
In early 2006, all household batteries were banned from solid waste landfills in California. However, it can be difficult for consumers to find a place to recycle used batteries.
According to a California report, more than 150 million batteries are sold each year in California of which primary batteries account for roughly 80 percent.
To manage discarded batteries, local governments and taxpayers pay up to $2,700 per ton, which amounts to tens-of-millions of dollars each year. However, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of used batteries are recycled through local government household hazardous waste programs.
“This is a perfect example of how producers, local governments and retailers can unite to help meet a greater good,” Williams said. “By changing our habits in little ways such as recycling batteries, we can collectively make dramatic changes to help the environment and save money.”
This policy approach is widely used around the world for batteries and places the responsibility on manufacturers to design and manage the recycling system.
“Banning batteries from disposal without making recycling easy is frustrating for the public,” said Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council. “The goal of this bill is to provide convenient recycling opportunities statewide to make it easy for consumers to comply with the law.”
Producer responsibility will not only make recycling more convenient for consumers, it will also create incentives for manufacturers to design safer products that are more durable and longer lasting, reducing waste and environmental impacts.
— Josh Molina is a communications specialist for Assemblyman Das Williams.