Founded in 1975, Posey Distributing Company is the oldest, independent battery distributor in the Tampa, Florida area. But Posey isn’t your ordinary neighborhood battery store. Walk in the door and you will experience a company passionate about selling and recycling batteries.
The passion for service is what sets Posey apart from its big box and online competitors. A big part of their service is battery recycling. “Service is everything to us and recycling is a big part of that. It’s a door opener. We get the business because we offer responsible recycling. Our customers know they can count on us to do it right,” said David Head, VP of Posey.
Long History of Recycling
Posey has been recycling batteries for more than 25 years. “Even before Call2Recycle existed, we were shipping batteries for our customers directly to INMETCO for recycling,” said Head. “Customers would call us for a shipping quote. We’d pick up and sort the batteries, then ship them out.”
Posey was founded in 1975 by Eugene Marvin Posey, Head’s father-in-law, and a top battery salesman for a leading battery manufacturer. Head joined the firm in 1991. Customers include hospitals, medical centers, municipalities, retirement homes, schools, the sheriff’s dept., treatment centers, condos/apartment buildings and retail shops. Today 40 percent of its business comes from non-automotive batteries, such as the rechargeable batteries used in medical equipment, emergency systems, laptops, power tools and other devices.
Raising recycling awareness is a key element of their business. Not only are signs posted throughout the store, but Posey also features battery recycling in all its customer proposals and materials. The best promotional strategy however is word of mouth. Head talks about recycling with customers almost every day.
“There is still a tremendous amount of ignorance. People aren’t really sure what to do with their batteries. They don’t understand the cradle-to-grave concept. They ask ‘What should we do with these batteries?’” he said.
Educating the Customer
Education is important to Posey. Most customers are relieved to find an easy, no-cost, responsible solution for disposing of their rechargeable batteries. Posey teaches them how to collect and sort the different battery types and how to store them safely until pick up. Customers call Posey to schedule pick up of the used batteries during their next delivery.
“The fact that recycling doesn’t cost the customer a cent is a huge bonus. They like that shipping charges are taken care of. We save them money and time,” said Head.
Because the company is so committed to battery recycling, Posey takes batteries from anyone, including the competition. Individuals arrive with bags of batteries. One-person, van-based battery businesses carry recycling bins in their vans and make regular drop offs. A local home improvement store sends over contractors with their batteries. Posey even takes batteries purchased from online competitors. “Online companies don’t know how to recycle. They don’t have the profit margins. Then the buyer is stuck with the batteries. We take the batteries because the buyer may come to us with business in the future,” said Head.
Doing Recycling Right
Knowing that Call2Recycle’s recycling practices follow industry standards defined in the Responsible Recycling® (R2) certification program and comply with the Basel treaty ban on exports (e-steward) is important to Head. It is important to have a guarantee that the collected batteries are recycled properly—kept out of landfills, kept off the black market and not shipped overseas. Best of all, the by-products are used to manufacture new products. That information helps Head set Posey apart from other battery companies.
A quarter century after starting recycling, Head remains surprised by how much education is still part of his daily business. He sees this slowly changing, as a younger generation of people raised in a more environmentally conscious society enter the business world. They are demanding that batteries be recycled promptly and not allowed to stack up in a closet or warehouse.
“Everyone has to be concerned about the environment. I often wonder where batteries would have gone without the Call2Recycle program. We are super thankful for the program,” said Head.