Faqs

About Call2Recycle (6)

Who is Call2Recycle®?

We are the premier, no-cost used rechargeable battery and cellphone collection program offered with a network of more than 30,000 collection sites throughout North America. Since 1996, environmentally committed people like you have helped us divert more than 75 million pounds (35 million kg) of rechargeable batteries from the solid waste stream. In 2012 alone, we collected more than 10 million pounds (4.5 million kg) of batteries–a record-breaking year. We bring together consumers, businesses, non-profit groups, retailers, government agencies and the portable battery and electronics industries to find ways to minimize the environmental impact of batteries and associated products at the end of their useful lives.

How are you funded?

Major product and battery manufacturers across the globe, called industry stewards, fund our recycling program to ensure that the batteries and cellphones that they introduce into the marketplace are being responsibly recycled when they reach their end of life. These industry stewards are committed to keeping rechargeable batteries and cellphones out of the solid waste stream and recycling them to create new products. You can support participating manufacturers by looking for products featuring the Call2Recycle Battery Recycling Seal.

What is product stewardship?

We are an industry-funded product stewardship program. Product stewardship is a policy of minimizing the environmental impact of products in the marketplace. Product stewardship advocates that organizations look at the whole lifecycle of a product, from development through manufacture and disposal, and ensures that no harm comes to the environment.

Who operates Call2Recycle?

The Call2Recycle® program is operated by Call2Recycle, Inc. (formerly the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation – RBRC), a not-for-profit organization. RBRC was founded in the mid-1990s by five concerned battery manufacturers as a voluntary, industry-run initiative to keep the heavy metals from rechargeable batteries out of the solid waste stream.

Where can I leave comments?

Simply fill out our feedback form with your comments. We appreciate your comments to help us improve our program.

How does the Canadian Call2Recycle Program work?

You can read more about our Canadian program at our Canadian website, which includes an FAQ with answers to all your questions.

Battery Recycling (11)

What are rechargeable batteries?

Rechargeable batteries are batteries you use more than once; they are designed for long-term use. You either plug them into a charger or they charge while in the device. Some rechargeable batteries can contain potentially harmful materials, such as heavy metals like lead, cadmium and nickel. Rechargeable batteries should always be recycled and in some states or provinces, recycling is the law.

What are the most common uses for rechargeable batteries?

You’ll find that many common household cordless electronics have rechargeable batteries. You will find them in cellphones, cordless power tools, laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, MP3 players/iPods, tablets and cordless phones to name just a few.

What is recycled from the batteries I turn in?

  • Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries: The cadmium is used to make new Ni-Cd batteries or as a stiffener in materials such as cement.
  • Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries: The cobalt is used to create new lithium-based batteries.
  • Small Sealed Lead Acid (SSLA/Pb) batteries: The lead is used to make new batteries.
  • Ni-Cd, Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) and Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn) batteries: The nickel is used in stainless steel products.

What is the difference between single-use and rechargeable batteries?

Because they look the same and are often used for the same purposes, it’s often hard to tell the two apart. Single-use or disposable batteries have one charge; once they lose their charge, they can’t be used again. Rechargeable batteries are designed for long-term use. The batteries are either plugged into a charger or charge while in the device. Many rechargeable batteries can be charged up to 1,000 times.

Do you collect single-use batteries?

At this time, we only collect rechargeable batteries and cellphones in the U.S. Many cities and towns offer single-use battery recycling, so we encourage you to contact your local solid waste department or Earth911.com to find a program. In Canada, we recycle both single-use and rechargeable batteries.

Why is it so important to recycle rechargeable batteries? Don’t they last forever?

Most rechargeable batteries lose their ability to hold a charge after 1,000 charges or 2-5 years, depending on how often they are used and if they are handled and charged properly. At that point, they need to be replaced. We encourage you to recycle them instead of throwing them in the trash.

Is it illegal to throw away rechargeable batteries or cellphones in the trash?

Some states and provinces have made it illegal to dispose of rechargeable batteries and cellphones in the regular trash. They are considered potentially hazardous material. Regardless of the law, it’s smart to recycle them and keep them from entering the landfill and potentially harming the environment.

What is a wet-cell battery and how does it differ from a dry-cell battery?

A wet-cell battery is the original type of rechargeable battery. It is commonly found in aviation, electric utilities, energy storage and cellphone towers. The battery contains a liquid electrolyte such as sulfuric acid, a dangerous corrosive liquid that damages what it comes into contact with. A dry-cell battery does not contain liquid. Smaller dry-cell batteries, such as alkaline or lithium ion, are typically used in portable electronics, such as toys, phones and laptops.

Do you recycle wet-cell batteries?

No, Call2Recycle accepts all types of rechargeable dry-cell batteries weighing less than 11 lbs. (5 kg), but not wet-cell batteries.

Do you recycle car batteries?

We do not accept car batteries for recycling. You can contact your local auto repair/parts store or community solid waste program for recycling information. Earth911.com can help you find a nearby retailer that accepts these batteries using a zip code search.

Cellphone Recycling (4)

What kind of cellphones do you recycle?

We accept all cellphones, with or without their batteries.

What happens to the cellphones you collect?

Depending on condition, the cellphones may be refurbished and resold. We recycle phones that can’t be refurbished. The proceeds help fund the cellphone collection program and public education.

Do you accept cellphone rechargers and cellphone accessories for recycling?

Call2Recycle can accept cellphones and their batteries but not the cellphone chargers or accessories. However, we recommend you recycle these products and keep them out of the landfill. Here are some recycling options:

  • Check with your cellphone provider. Most providers accept old cellphones and accessories, including chargers.

  • Drop your cellphone charger off at the retailers and service providers that have partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote cellphone recycling.

  • Our partner, TheWirelessAlliance accepts all accessories; check the web site for details.

Do I need to remove my personal information from the phone before I donate it?

We recommend that you remove the personal information on your phone, although it is not required. In the recycling process, the memory on the phones is destroyed and reusable materials are recycled before they are resold. To remove the information from your phone, consult your cellphone user manual, manufacturer’s web site or read “How to Erase Your Data,” by The Wireless Alliance, one of our processors.

Collection Sites (7)

What is a collection site?

A wide variety of retailers, businesses, communities and public agencies collect rechargeable batteries and cellphones as part of the Call2Recycle program. Organizations participate to keep potentially toxic waste from the solid waste stream and to make sure these materials are properly recycled. We have 30,000 public collection sites in both the U.S. and Canada. We also have internal collection sites, such as hospitals, military bases, businesses and government agencies, which collect batteries internally. These organizations are not listed in our locator.

How do we become a collection site?

We will need more information from you to determine the best fit for your organization. Please fill out this form. For more details, visit our web page. You can also request information from our Customer Service Team or call 877.723.1297 to learn about more our program.

What battery types do you collect?

We accept all rechargeable batteries weighing up to 11 lbs. (5 kg) each, including Nickel Cadmium (>Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn) and Small Sealed Lead Acid (SSLA/Pb). We do not collect single-use, automotive or wet-cell batteries.

How do we add more collection sites to our account?

Adding new collection sites is easy. Just contact our Customer Service Team at 877.723.1297. Collection kits can be shipped directly to the new locations or to a central location for distribution. We also offer a bulk shipping option for high-volume sites.

Does every battery need a bag?

Yes. All rechargeable batteries must be individually bagged or terminals taped in the US.

Are collection boxes available in other sizes?

We only offer the standard 66 lbs. (30 kg) size collection box at this time. If you need to order more, simply contact our Customer Service Team at 877.723.1297.

Our organization is already a collection site. How do we order more collection boxes or bags?

You will automatically be shipped a new collection kit after we receive one at our recycling facility. If you are getting low on collection boxes or bags, you can also submit the collection kit re-order form for additional kits. It takes approximately 2-5 business days for you to receive new supplies.

Industry Stewards (4)

What is an industry steward?

Industry stewards are the foundation of the Call2Recycle program. They are the organizations committed to promoting the responsible recycling of electronic products and batteries when they reach their end of life. Their rechargeable batteries and/or battery-powered products display the Call2Recycle Battery Recycling Seal. They provide the financial support for the program.

How do we become an industry steward?

Please submit an Industry Steward Inquiry Form for more information on how to participate.

What are the benefits of being an industry steward?

Industry stewards gain many benefits through their support of the Call2Recycle® program. They are assured that the Call2Recycle collection program meets the compliance requirements of current and future provincial regulations regarding batteries and cellphones. Industry stewards can publicly demonstrate their organizations’ responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products–from manufacturing to the environmentally-sound recycling of batteries and cellphones. Industry stewards can also place the Call2Recycle Battery Recycling Seal on their rechargeable batteries and associated products. The Seal tells customers that your organization has paid for the proper end-of-life disposal of batteries you introduce to the marketplace. Our Benefits of Being an Industry Steward web page outlines the advantages of becoming a Call2Recycle industry steward.

What is a licensee?

A licensee is a type of industry steward that provides financial support to Call2Recycle for the rights to imprint the Call2Recycle Battery Recycling Seal on its rechargeable batteries, products or packaging. The Seal tells customers that your organization has paid for the proper end-of-life disposal of batteries you introduce to the marketplace.

Marketing and Shipping (for Collection Sites) (8)

Do you have marketing materials that collection sites can use to promote the program? How do we order them?

Visit our Support Materials page to see the wide variety of available program materials, including posters, customizable press releases, web banners and images. Most materials can be customized. Contact our Customer Service Team at 877.723.1297 to order custom options.

What do we do with batteries we’ve collected?

You can check out our How the Call2Recycle Program Works, which outlines how to ship your batteries, whether they are in a collection box or you ship in bulk. Contact our Customer Service Team at 877.723.1297 if you need more information.

How do we ship a Call2Recycle box that is full?

Call2Recycle provides collection sites with ready-to-ship collection boxes. The box comes with a pre-paid return shipping label already attached!

In the US, if you leave the box available where UPS or FedEx drops-off, they will pick it up the next time they visit your location. With UPS, there is no need to schedule a pickup as charges may apply. If you do not have regularly scheduled visits from UPS, please contact our Customer Service Team (877.723.1297).

My collection box is missing a shipping label. What do I do?

Contact our Customer Service Team at 877.723.1297 to order a new shipping label. It will be sent to you at no charge.

Can we ship single-use/non-rechargeable batteries to you?

At this time, we only collect rechargeable batteries and cellphones in the U.S. You can visit Earth911.com to find nearby single-use battery recycling facilities. In Canada, we recycle both single-use and rechargeable batteries.

How do we schedule a pickup for my collection box in the U.S.?

All Call2Recycle boxes come with a pre-paid return shipping label. If UPS regularly picks up or drops off packages at your location, you can put the box out for the next pickup. If you do not have regular UPS pickups, please contact our Customer Service Team at 877.723.1297 to arrange a pickup. If you contact UPS directly for a pickup, extra charges may apply.

Do you have bulk shipping?

Call2Recycle offers an easy bulk shipping option for collection sites with a high-volume battery recycling program. This program is recommended if your shipments are 500 lbs. (227 kg) or more. For more information about shipping in bulk in the continental U.S., click here.

We have a bulk shipment ready. How do we complete the Bill of Lading (BOL)?

If you’re currently enrolled in our bulk shipping program and have a shipment of 500 lbs. (227 kg) or more, you can use the Bill of Lading (BOL) wizard to create your BOL with our preferred freight partner. We walk you through the steps on how to complete it. Click here to start.

Recycling Program Overview (9)

How do I recycle?

The program is simple. Just collect the rechargeable batteries and cellphones that you are no longer using. Find the nearest Call2Recycle collection site from the more than 30,000 across the U.S. and Canada, either by visiting our location finder or calling 1.877.2.RECYCLE and drop the items off at no charge. The collection site will ship the batteries and cellphones to our recycling partners, where they are sorted and processed for recycling. Depending on their condition, cellphones may be refurbished and resold with proceeds used to help fund the cellphone collection program and public education efforts. For a step-by-step guide on how to recycle, click here.

What do you accept?

We currently collect and recycle all rechargeable batteries weighing less than 11 lbs. (5 kg) and cellphones. We do not accept wet-cell or car batteries. Visit the Earth911.com website to find out where you can recycle the batteries we don’t currently accept.

Is it free to recycle or is there a charge to recycle?

We are the only no-cost rechargeable battery and cellphone product stewardship program offered across North America. There is no charge to recycle.

Do I have to collect from the public to participate as a collection site?

You don’t need to collect from the public to become a Call2Recycle collection site. Many organizations choose to collect only from internal locations and not from the public. Either option is available. You can contact our Customer Service Team or call 877.723.1297 for details. If you are interested in becoming a collection site, please fill out this form.

Where can I recycle?

Our drop-off locator can help you quickly find the nearest location of the more than 30,000 participating locations in the U.S. and Canada. These locations include major retailers such as Best Buy, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, RadioShack and Staples. We also have internal collection sites at hospitals, military bases, businesses and government agencies. Check with your facilities manager to see if your employer is an internal collection site. On the go? Visit our mobile website or call us toll-free at 1.877.2.RECYCLE.

Who pays for the recycling program?

Major product and battery manufacturers across the globe, called industry stewards, fund our recycling program to ensure that the batteries and cellphones that they introduce into the marketplace are being responsibly recycled when they reach their end of life. These industry stewards are committed to keeping rechargeable batteries and cellphones out of the solid waste stream and recycling them to create new products. You can support participating manufacturers by looking for products featuring the Call2Recycle Battery Recycling Seal.

Why should I recycle my rechargeable batteries?

The number of wireless products powered by rechargeable batteries is skyrocketing. It is increasingly important that people recognize that rechargeable batteries and cellphones may contain metals that can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. Our goal is to divert these potentially harmful materials from landfills and recycle their byproducts into new products.

What do you do with the batteries and cellphones I drop off?

All our collected batteries are sent to sorters and processors in the U.S. and Canada. These companies sort the batteries by chemistry, and then melt them down into byproducts that are used to make new products such as batteries, stainless steel alloy and cement additives. Cellphones are refurbished and resold when possible, or recycled, with the proceeds being used to fund the program. You can see how we recycle batteries in this video.

Do I really make a difference when I recycle?

Yes! You are keeping potentially hazardous material from entering your local landfill and recycling them into other uses. Every single person’s effort makes a difference. Without environmentally committed people, we would not have been able to recycle more than 75 million pounds of batteries since our program’s inception in 1996.

Call2Recycle® is a product stewardship program providing no-cost battery and cellphone recycling solutions across the U.S. and Canada. Operated by Call2Recycle, Inc., a 501(c)4 nonprofit public service organization, the program is funded by battery and product manufacturers committed to responsible recycling.