EPA Certifies Alternative Battery Recycling Label

Battery Group Hopes To Increase Consumer Recycling Of Used Ni-Cd Batteries

GAINESVILLE, August 21, 1998
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) announced today the EPA’s certification of a label proposed by RBRC for Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) rechargeable batteries and product packaging. This is EPA’s first certification of a label proposed as an alternative to label language otherwise required by the 1996 Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act. That Act established uniform national standards to encourage recycling and proper handling and disposal of certain used batteries. Included in those standards are requirements for label language advising consumers of the proper handling of used batteries. The law also allows EPA to certify, or approve, labels that differ from the labels required by the Act if EPA finds that the alternative labels accomplish the same goals.

RBRC, a not-for-profit public service organization, introduced the alternative label to alleviate consumer confusion about what to do with Ni-Cd batteries once they can no longer be recharged. The language currently used on the batteries – “Battery Must Be Recycled or Disposed of Properly” – undermines the goal of increased recycling by presenting disposal as an equally acceptable alternative, RBRC contends. According to RBRC, there is no reason for any Ni-Cd battery to be disposed of given the availability of recycling programs.

The new label features a battery surrounded by three chasing arrows and states simply, “RECYCLE.” The EPA and RBRC agreed that the label must include information that makes it convenient for consumers to learn how and where to recycle their used batteries, and RBRC’s toll-free consumer helpline, 1-800-822-8837 (1-800-8-BATTERY), is featured on the alternative label to serve that purpose.

“These batteries contain cadmium, a heavy metal that can be harmful to public health and the environment if not disposed of properly,” said Carol Browner, U.S. EPA Administrator. “I congratulate the retail chains participating in this new recycling program and hope others will follow their example.”

RBRC’s program, called Charge Up to Recycle!, enlists retail stores and communities nationwide to serve as collection sites for used Ni-Cd batteries. RBRC submitted voluminous information in support of its certification request, including information showing that the Charge Up to Recycle! program is financially viable, that it offers readily available battery collection points, and that the collection, transportation and recycling of the batteries is environmentally sound.

RBRC also submitted information to demonstrate that its alternative label is being accepted and used, and that a mechanism exists to enforce its proper use. The battery recycling seal incorporated within the alternative label is a registered trademark of RBRC. RBRC monitors the use of this seal in the marketplace to ensure that the manufacturers using it are registered with RBRC and licensed to use the seal, and that the seal is being displayed properly. Approximately 80% of the Ni-Cd batteries sold in the U.S. display the RBRC Battery Recycling Seal as part of the manufacturers’ participation in the Charge Up to Recycle! program.

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About Call2Recycle®
Call2Recycle is the industry’s first and only product stewardship program for rechargeable batteries. The nonprofit program is administered by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a public service organization dedicated to rechargeable battery recycling. There are more than 30,000 Call2Recycle drop-off locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. More than 175 manufacturers and marketers of portable rechargeable batteries and products show their commitment to conserve natural resources and prevent rechargeable batteries from entering the solid waste stream by funding the Call2Recycle program. In pursuit of its mission, Call2Recycle also collects old cellphones, which are either recycled or refurbished and resold when possible with a portion of the proceeds benefiting select charities. For more information, call 877-2-RECYCLE or visit test.us.call2recycle.org.

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