Hilti: Powering Up Its Battery Recycling Program to New Levels

Many of Call2Recycle’s industry stewards come from the construction tool industry where rechargeable batteries power cordless tools ranging from drills to screwdrivers, saws, angle grinders, power hammers and impact wrenches. As the demand for cordless tools steadily increases, so does the demand for heavy-duty rechargeable batteries.

One of the leaders in this industry is the Hilti Group, a global designer, manufacturer and distributor of construction-grade tools, equipment and services. From its roots as a small family company started in 1941, Hilti has grown to 20,000 employees in more than 120 countries.

Since its inception, Hilti has been strongly committed to recycling and the environment. The company actively honors “its social and ecological responsibility (that) creates the foundation of trust that makes possible the long-term success of the company.”

This commitment plays out in its involvement in the Call2Recycle program. As an industry steward, Hilti North America provides the funding that enables the batteries it introduces into the marketplace to be responsibly recycled when they reach their end of life. Participation also ensures the company complies with extensive state, provincial and federal regulations in the US and Canada.

Growing Collections

Hilti’s pledge to support battery recycling shows in its sheer volume of collections by its approximately 120 locations across North America. During the past two years, Hilti has sent more than 94,000 lbs. (42,638 kg) of batteries to Call2Recycle for recycling. Call2Recycle provides Hilti with reporting on the weights and chemistries from each Hilti location, making participation of their facilities easy to monitor, and ensuring that nearly all sites are engaged in the battery recycling program.  Hilti has two types of collection sites:

  • Retail stores. Call2Recycle boxes are located in stores to help drive in-store customer awareness and convenience. In addition to the displays, Hilti worked with Call2Recycle to design custom posters that promote the program to store visitors.  US Hilti locations are listed on Call2Recycle’s website battery drop off locator for use by customers in that locality.
  • Repair centers. When tools need to be repaired or traded in, often the batteries need to be placed. Technicians use Call2Recycle boxes to collect the old batteries for recycling. A large number of these batteries are generated through Hilti’s fleet program, which leases tools to contractors.

“Call2Recycle makes it easy and convenient for Hilti to incorporate battery recycling into its business operations,” said Jerry Metcalf, senior manager, Safety & Environmental at Hilti. With space often at a premium, Metcalf likes that stores can fill a box, tape it, then ship it by handing the full box to their UPS driver when delivering other items to the store.  This minimizes storage and makes battery recycling simply and convenient for our employees. “It’s a painless system that is easy for our stores to manage,” added Metcalf.

Extending its Environmental Commitment


Hilti North America employees partner with Tulsa Habitat for Humanity

The company’s deep-seated commitment to the environment doesn’t stop with battery recycling. Hilti recycles a half-million of its used tools each year through an electronics recycler, said Metcalf. Some of the tools are recycled for their metal and plastic housing, and rechargeable batteries recycled by that vendor in bulk through Call2Recycle. Others that are fully functional and gently used are repaired, then donated to the non-profit Habitat for Humanity for use on residential building sites. “We invest a lot of energy in supporting Habitat for Humanity,” added Metcalf. “Our culture is focused on giving back to the community.”

With environmental commitment at the heart of the Hilti culture, the Call2Recycle partnership makes sense. It supports Hilti’s corporate philosophy that advocates ‘responsibility towards society and environment.’ This is a philosophy Hilti lives every day through its Call2Recycle recycling program.

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