Texas Campaign for the Environment—TCE, a nonprofit, grassroots group known for its work on electronic waste recycling—has announced a campaign to press Rayovac, a major battery manufacturer, to step up their efforts on recycling and waste reduction.
The group asked Rayovac in May to begin taking back their batteries for recycling. Rayovac has refused to join other battery makers such as Duracell, Energizer and Panasonic in new efforts to recycle batteries, and in fact encourages consumers to simply throw their batteries in the trash. Now TCE has been joined by 26 other organizations from across the country calling on Rayovac , to provide recycling for their batteries in Texas, as they do in Europe.
“Rayovac is way behind their competitors when it comes to offering solutions for battery recycling, and it’s past time for them to join these efforts toward sustainability,” Robin Schneider, Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment said. “We want them to take back their batteries for recycling, to set meaningful goals for these collections and to support legislation which would create a level playing field for battery recycling. These solutions have worked for electronics in Texas and a variety of other products nationwide, and now we want Rayovac to help make it a reality for batteries.”
Rayovac is one of the four largest manufacturers of single-use batteries. Duracell, Energizer and Panasonic have all taken steps towards establishing battery takeback recycling for consumers. These companies formed the Corporation for Battery Recycling, but Rayovac pulled out of the group and instead instructs its customers to dispose of their batteries in the household trash. Single-use batteries are banned from disposal in California and Europe, and are considered “universal waste” by the EPA—a category of widely produced, potentially hazardous products which should be kept out of normal disposal streams whenever possible. Rayovac also produces rechargeable batteries which are toxic and even more widely banned from disposal.
Texas Campaign for the Environment privately called upon Rayovac, as well as lighting manufacturers Philips, GE and Sylvania to change their policies in May, and Rayovac, Philips and Sylvania responded with a refusal in June. Most modern lighting is also toxic, and manufacturers have also declined to offer their consumers responsible solutions for disposal or recycling.TCE hopes to bring groups from around the country together in a widespread, creative campaign to change the companies’ policies. The group was previously successful in pressuring computer-maker Dell, Inc. into offering takeback recycling, and went on to successful campaigns against a number of major computer and TV makers. These campaigns culminated in state legislation in 2007 and 2011 providing for guaranteed manufacturer takeback for computers and televisions in the state of Texas.
“We are not afraid to take on big companies that are doing too little for the planet,” Schneider said. “We are also excited when we get to move from opposition to cooperation, and we expect that Rayovac and the lighting companies will make changes sooner rather than later. Until then, we intend to organize support to hold these irresponsible companies accountable.”