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September 28, 2014 / or4green

Battery Recycling

I recycled this image from an earlier greenOR post.

I recycled this image from an earlier greenOR post.

It is nice to see a battery recycling program in the works in my state of Connecticut. I learned of this from a recent article in the Danbury (CT) Republican American by Paul Singley:

Connecticut environmental officials are working with battery manufacturers to come up with a bill that will be introduced in the 2015 legislative session. Connecticut and the battery industry hope it will be a model for the rest of the country.

The law would cover single-use alkaline batteries as well as rechargeable ones.

“This increases recycling, it removes items from the waste stream and it creates jobs around recovery of the material,” said Tom Metzner, environmental analyst for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

The bill was developed by the CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) in conjunction with battery companies such as Energizer, Duracell, and Panasonic

Scott Cassel, chief executive officer of the Product Stewardship Institute had this to say in the article:

“The manufacturers understand that they have a responsibility to step up to the plate and not only sell the product, but they also have a responsibility to manage it properly.”

Somehow I missed this group when I was putting together my stroller recycling post but they are on my radar now.

Battery recycling has come up in the O.R. world before. In one of the first posts on this blog, I summarized a 2003 Interfaces paper on battery recycling.  Here are some excerpts of that:

Paper Summary: Closed-Loop Supply Chains for Spent Batteries by F. Schultmann, B. Engels, and O. Renz, Interfaces, November-December 2003

Germany has a “battery decree” that puts the responsibility on manufacturers and importers of collecting, sorting, and, if possible, reprocessing spent batteries. This paper focuses on portable batteries, as opposed to car batteries, industrial batteries, etc. The paper consists of two parts:
1. a flow-sheeting process model to study the impact of using spent batteries in the production of steel
2. a two-stage facility-location problem to optimize the reverse logistics for the spent batteries

The reverse logistics work may be useful for the new CT recovery law.  In all it sounds like a development in the right direction.

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