The Panasonic Power Tools Division and Call2Recycle recently teamed up to launch a new rechargeable battery recycling initiative. The Power Tool Division is a manufacturer of construction and assembly tools that include intelligent cordless shut-off tools, low torque cordless clutch tools, cordless non shut-off tools and rechargeable batteries. Call2Recycle is a product stewardship program that ensures that rechargeable batteries introduced into the marketplace are being responsibly recycled when they reach their end of life. Panasonic is a founding member of Call2Recycle and long-time licensee, helping to fund Call2Recycle’s recycling programs.
Under the partnership, Panasonic and Call2Recycle work with Panasonic’s power tools customers to place Call2Recycle’s collection boxes at plant assembly lines to collect used rechargeable batteries from cordless tools. Users of Panasonic power tools in North America will now have easy access to recycling batteries on the plant floor. Call2Recycle will recycle all rechargeable batteries packs and cells — including Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride), Ni-Cd (Nickel Cadmium), Ni-Zn (Nickel Zinc), Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) and SSLA/Pb (Small Sealed Lead Acid) — up to 11 pounds.
This new initiative creates a single umbrella program to replace the current patchwork of recycling programs across customer sites. The used batteries will be shipped from the plant to an approved battery processor, which will convert them into new materials used in new batteries or steel alloy. All recycling occurs in North America, and all parts of the battery are responsibly diverted from the landfill. No waste materials are exported out of the country.
“Cordless power tools have been rising in popularity in assembly applications. This program takes the next step and delivers a complete solution for keeping rechargeable batteries out of trash and re-purposing them for new uses. It’s one more piece of the recycling puzzle at Panasonic,” says John Olson, industrial sales manager at Panasonic.
Education is an important element of the new program. Call2Recycle is developing and implementing a program to educate customers on how the program works. Call2Recycle reps will work as needed with plant engineers to introduce the program. The program is also being promoted through the Panasonic website via online banners in addition to posters, flyers and postcards. The program kicked off May 1 with the goal of getting as many Panasonic power tool customers on board as quickly as possible.
Panasonic has a history of rechargeable battery recycling. When these batteries gained popularity in the early 1990s, no recycling programs existed. Leveraging the public’s growing interest in recycling rechargeable batteries, Panasonic joined four other companies to create the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), now called Call2Recycle, Inc. The industry program enabled electronics manufacturers to voluntarily comply with the growing number of state regulations by collecting rechargeable batteries through retail outlets. Individuals, businesses and municipalities were encouraged to participate at no cost.
As part of its 100-year anniversary in 2018, Panasonic announced a goal of becoming the leader in green electronics innovation. Its Green Plan 2018 is a plan for steadily cutting its environmental impact while making “the world’s greenest and most green-enabling products.” Among its goals is to achieve zero waste at its manufacturing facilities and support programs to collect and recycle their products.
Call2Recycle, Inc. shares a similar philosophy to Panasonic when it comes to recycling, the organization says.
Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle, says that with Panasonic’s support, Call2Recycle has recycled more than 75 million pounds of batteries since its inception. The companies say the partnership has helped them take positive action to promote sustainability through responsible recycling.
From Call2Recycle: For additional information on the recycling relationship between Panasonic Power Tool Division and Call2Recycle, click here to read the full case study.