Battery RecyclingRemember the 3 R's? Try reducing first.
Currently, the city of Urbana pays over $10,000 annually to recycle single-use batteries. Although the costs are high, the city recycles the single-use batteries in order to reduce the city’s waste stream and eliminate the possibility of chemical contamination of groundwater due to battery leakage in the landfill.
The spending for battery recycling is dominated by fees for recycling:
- 60-70% of cost are for single battery use
- 25-35% are for transporting batteries
- a single use alkaline battery cost $0.50 to recycle
For every rechargeable NiCad or NiMH battery recycled:
- the city is compensated $0.20
- battery recycling recoups about ~2% of the cost needed to recyclenon-reusable batteries.
The project goal is to create a behavioral change in Urbana so that consumers purchase more rechargeable batteries. This would address Urbana’s goal of reduc- ing waste as well as save money, which can then be used for other projects.
Project Activities and Progression
First, the barriers that were preventing Urbana residents from purchasing and using rechargeable batteries had to be defined. This was done through surveying Urbana residents regarding their knowledge and usage of single-use and rechargeable batteries through a survey.
Additionally an extensive breakeven analysis for the use of rechargeable batter- ies over single-use batteries was made. The prices of several batteries were aver- aged which gave a price of $0.56 for a AA single-use battery and $2.42 for a AA rechargeable battery. Additionally the price for a recharger has to be considered, which starts around $10.
Long-term outcome: is to increase the usage of rechargeable batteries by 20% in the next five years. Currently 500 rechargeable batteries are being recycled per year therefore the goal is to recycle 600 rechargeable batteries per year by 2020.
Short term outcome: educate Urbana citizens on the benefits of switching over to rechargeable batteries from single-use batteries. This will be done through the distribution of 250 flyers in Urbana and posting the flyer online on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc and the Urbana Environmental Sustainability Division website. There the number of views can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the flyer. The goal will be 50 “likes” or shares on Facebook and 50 views on the online websites.