Name of campaign: Take ’em Back Rayovac!
Lead Group(s): Texas Campaign for the Environment
Support Group(s): Midwest Environmental Justice Organization, Progressive Dane, UPSTREAM (formerly the Product Policy Institute), Cradle2, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Cornell Student Labor Action Coalition, Clean Water Action Michigan, Clean Water Action Massachusetts, Clean Water Action Rhode Island, Ohio Citizens Action, Sierra Club, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), International Campaign for Responsible Electronics, Electronics Takeback Coalition, Coalition for Safe Minds, Eco-Cycle, Zero Waste Detroit, Nothing Left to Waste, Eureka Recycling, New Jersey Environmental Federation, Clean and Healthy New York, New York PIRG, Vermont PIRG, Basel Action Network, SEED Coalition, Northeast Wisconsin Zero Waste Coalition, Clean Water Action Council–Northeast Wisconsin, REThink Wisconsin, One Wisconsin Now, Recycle Worlds Consulting
This campaign was directed at executives and top investors in Spectrum Brands Holdings–owners of Rayovac–urging them to change their policies and positions on household battery recycling. This was a strategic piece of a larger campaign to secure industry-led extended producer responsibility (EPR) for all household batteries. More than 90% of US household batteries end up in landfills or incinerators–more than 2 billion batteries a year. This wastes resources, increases dependence on extraction industries, and poses threats to air, land, and water. Consumers want to recycle, but opportunities are limited and usually depend on local government programs. Rayovac, the only major household battery manufacturer not supportive of producer takeback now they publicly endorses it and joined with their competitors to shape model legislation for battery takeback. With Rayovac on board we now have unanimous support for producer takeback among the major battery companies, making it much easier to pass legislation. Their model legislation will be taken up by the Connecticut legislature in 2015, and introduced in Texas as well. We will even have Republican authors in Texas because of industry support. Industry figures have told us that once enough states have passed legislation they will roll out a national household battery takeback program, meaning that consumers will have access to reliable recycling for these toxic products. Eventually this should make rechargeable batteries more competitive in price, thus increasing adoption of this more sustainable technology. Also, the collected material makes closed-loop recycling for batteries more likely, thus reducing the need for destructive mining practices. Finally this will keep millions of batteries out of landfills and incinerators, thus reducing their impacts on air, land and water.