Friday, August 2, 2013

Environmental Groups Target Battery Maker Rayovac for Bad Record on Recycling

August 2, 2013
Contact: Andrew Dobbs, Texas Campaign for the Environment (512) 326-5655,
Matt Prindiville, Product Policy Institute, (207) 902-0054,

Environmental Groups Target Battery Maker Rayovac for Bad Record on Recycling
Texas group leads the effort to press number 3 battery maker to catch up to competitors

A coalition of environmental groups have announced a campaign to press Rayovac, a major battery manufacturer, to step up their efforts on recycling and waste reduction. Texas Campaign for the Environment—TCE, a nonprofit, grassroots group known for its work on electronic waste recycling—asked Rayovac in May to begin taking back their batteries for recycling. Now TCE has been joined by 26 other organizations from across the country calling on Rayovac , to provide recycling for their  batteries in the U.S., as they do in Europe. 

“Rayovac is falling behind their competitors when it comes to 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 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 have 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.

“People ask me all the time about what they should do with their spent batteries, and unfortunately in most places we don’t have good options” said Matt Prindiville, Associate Director for the Product Policy Institute, a national environmental advocacy organization working to make products and packaging more sustainable.  “Now, a group of battery manufacturers has come forward to set up recycling programs, but Rayovac, one of the largest manufacturers, has pulled out.  Apparently, they’re comfortable with letting other people clean up their mess.  This is unacceptable.”

Texas Campaign for the Environment privately called upon Rayovac, as well as lighting manufacturers Philips, GE and Sylvania to take their products back for recycling in May, and Rayovac, Philips and Sylvania responded with a refusal in June.  Most modern lighting is also toxic, and major manufacturers have declined to offer their consumers responsible solutions for disposal or recycling. TCE was joined in their public response by organizations from 11 states, including:

·        Recycle Worlds Consulting, based in Madison, Wisconsin
·        Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin
·        Northeast Wisconsin Zero Waste Coalition
·        ReThink Wisconsin, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student group
·        Nothing Left to Waste, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
·        Eureka Recycling, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
·        Michigan Clean Water Action
·        the New Jersey Environmental Federation
·        Rhode Island Clean Water Action
·        Massachusetts Clean Water Action
·        California Clean Water Action
·        The Product Policy Institute, a national organization headquartered in Rockland, Maine
·        Safe Minds, a national organization headquartered in Huntington Beach, California
·        Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment, based in Farmingdale, New York and Hamden, Connecticut
·        Clean and Healthy New York, based in Albandy, New York
·        Vermont Public Interest Research Group, based in Montpelier, Vermont
·        Zero Waste Detroit
·        CRADLE2, based in Augusta, Maine
·        Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, based in Austin, Texas
·        Basel Action Network, an international organization based in Seattle, Washington
·        Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), an international organization based in Berkeley, California
·        Electronics Takeback Coalition, based in San Francisco, California
·        International Campaign for Responsible Technology, based in San Jose, California
·        Eco-Cycle, based in Boulder, Colorado

TCE hopes to bring groups from around the country together in a widespread, creative campaign to change the companies’ policies. The group was especially encouraged by the support found in Wisconsin, home to Rayovac’s parent company, Spectrum Brands.

“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.”

1 comment:

  1. I believe that it is very important that we dispose our batteries to proper disposal areas rather than just throwing it anywhere which is very harmful when seepage happens to our water reservoir. Observing proper disposal and recycling of these batteries is very crucial. If there are other valuable products from recycling batteries then it is our safety that I think Rayovac has neglected.


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