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Battery Take-Back Legislation Signed in New York

New York Governor David Paterson signed mandatory take-back legislation requiring battery manufacturers to work with retailers to set up free, easily accessible recycling programs for batteries sold or disposed in New York State. The statewide initiative law is similar to New York City’s Rechargeable Battery Recycling Ordinance from 2006.

The city initiative relies on the structure and organization of  Call2Recycle, operated by Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, which has partnered with more than 300 locations in New York City, where consumers can drop off used rechargeable batteries and old cell phones at no cost. The nonprofit program is administered by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). There are more than 30,000 Call2Recycle drop-off locations throughout the United States and Canada.

Because of similar requirements nationwide, many major retailers including Best Buy, Circuit City, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, RadioShack, Sears, Target, and others, are already partners with Call2Recycle, and have establishing drop-off locations throughout New York State.

Retailers now have to post a sign advertising the free recycling of rechargeable batteries so that consumers will become more aware of the mandatory service. Currently, 3.8 million pounds of rechargeable batteries reach the end of their usable life each year in New York.

Under the new law, manufacturers of rechargeable batteries will be responsible for financing the collection and recycling of the batteries collected, advertising this program to consumers, and reporting on the progress of this new program.  Retailers that sell rechargeable batteries will be required to accept used rechargeable batteries back from individuals during normal business hours and to post signs informing consumers about these requirements.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be responsible for oversight of the program including reviewing and approving the manufacturer’s collection plans and  any reporting required.

Manufacturers will have 90 days from the signing of the new law on December 13. 2010 to submit a collection and recycling plan to DEC. Retailers are required to accept batteries for recycling 180 days from that date.

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