Single-use household battery manufacturers that sell or manufacture their products in the state of Vermont will be required to plan, implement and manage a statewide battery collection program by 2016, according to a bill passed by the Vermont House of Representatives.
The bill, known as H.695, “Act Relating to Establishing a Product Stewardship Program for Primary Batteries,” is a type of extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation that requires primary (single-use) battery manufacturers to fund and manage a take-back and recycling program on behalf of consumers.
Once signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin, the bill will become the first EPR law in the US that covers primary batteries of multiple chemistries (e.g., alkaline, zinc carbon, lithium primary silver oxide and zinc air).
There is already a voluntary collection program in place for rechargeable batteries.
The Product Stewardship Institute estimates that more than 10 million batteries are sold in Vermont each year. However, there are very few recycling programs available to consumers, the nonprofit says.
The law will require battery manufacturers to submit a plan to the state by July 2015 outlining how they will implement a convenient collection program. In accordance with the bill, the program will provide convenient battery drop-off locations for consumers at retail and municipal sites.
PSI supported Vermont’s efforts to pass H.695 and says it has influenced the passage of many of the 80 EPR laws around the country, including a bill signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in December 2013 that requires mercury thermostat manufacturers to collect and recycle their products.
Photo Credit: AA batteries by Andrew Scherbackov via Shutterstock