The state of Vermont has passed a Bill that will force battery manufacturers to implement statewide battery collection programs by January 2016.
The Bill, known as H.695, an "Act Relating to Establishing a Product Stewardship Program for Primary Batteries," passed on May 8, 2014 to address single-use household batteries.
It is estimated that more than 10 million batteries are sold in Vermont each year. However, there are very few recycling programs available to consumers. 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.
Once signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin, the Bill will become the first extended producer responsibility (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.
"We are incredibly fortunate in Vermont to have the collaboration of solid waste planning entities, the Vermont Product Stewardship Council, and the legislative leadership of Tony Klein, chair of the House Natural Resource and Energy Committee, and others to pass this first of its kind legislation in Vermont," said Jen Holliday, product stewardship program manager for the Chittenden Solid Waste District and chair of the Vermont Product Stewardship Council. "This will keep millions of batteries out of the landfill and save resources without costing local government thousands of dollars a year to recycle them."
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), a national nonprofit whose work on EPR over the last 14 years has influenced the passage of many of the 80 EPR laws around the country.
PSI, having played an instrumental role in laying the groundwork for primary battery EPR and in fueling the momentum toward fair and balanced legislative solutions, supported Vermont's efforts to pass H.695. It should be noted that Holliday is also the president of the board of directors for PSI.
PSI will host a national battery stewardship dialogue meeting June 11-12, 2014 in Connecticut to develop a model program for primary and rechargeable batteries. The meeting is open to all interested stakeholders and is accessible in-person or via live internet streaming. For more information, visit www.productstewardship.us.