Call2Recycle celebrates 20 years as environmental recycling program leader

Fresh off the press (releases):

ATLANTA and FORT WORTH, Texas (April 21, 2014) – Celebrating a 20-year partnership, RadioShack and Call2Recycle® announced today that the battery collection and recycling program is expanding to stores in Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

In 1994, Call2Recycle was established as a non-profit stewardship program to collect, transport and recycle rechargeable batteries in order to keep them out of the waste stream. Today RadioShack, one of the first national retailers to voluntarily participate, has become Call2Recycle’s highest-volume retail partner. Anyone can bring a cell phone or used rechargeable battery into any RadioShack for recycling, with no purchase necessary.

“As a long-standing partner, RadioShack continues to be a key advocate for our collection and recycling program. We are proud to expand the program this year to additional locations,” said Carl Smith, CEO and President of Call2Recycle, Inc. “Our success depends on industry leaders like RadioShack to work with us to increase consumer awareness of the importance and ease of recycling at their neighborhood stores.”

All RadioShack stores in the contiguous United States offer the program to their customers. This widespread program participation is responsible for approximately 10 percent of Call2Recycle’s total rechargeable battery and cell phone collections to date.

“RadioShack is a proud partner with Call2Recycle providing communities with a smart, convenient, no-cost option for recycling cell phones and rechargeable batteries,” said Joe Magnacca, CEO of RadioShack. “Our partnership with Call2Recycle has helped divert over 7 million pounds (3,500 tons) of these items from landfills and ensure that they are properly recycled.”

Pioneered by five concerned battery manufacturers in 1994, Call2Recycle is an R2-certified program that brings together battery and battery-powered product manufacturers, retailers, businesses, public agencies and consumers to ensure proper end-of-life battery management. Call2Recycle has collected more than 85 million pounds of batteries and cell phones since its inception.

battery_corroded_endWhy should you bring in your old batteries, both rechargeable and single-use?  Anyone who’s left a battery in a device for more than a few years knows what the corrosion looks like, but what you might not know is that the crust and dust that accumulate through the degradation process is toxic.  If you find old batteries like this in your devices, take care with removal by wearing gloves and avoid inhaling any of the dust.  And what is that dust made of? Depending on the battery, it could be made of lead, zinc sulfate, aluminum sulfate, rust, and numerous other things, none of which are particularly compatible with humans.

Now for the really bad news: even if your batteries haven’t corroded while sitting idle for years at a time, even if you tossed them as soon as you realized they were dead, if you disposed of them the same way you do your other garbage, that corrosion takes place in a landfill instead, and thanks to the life cycle of water, that corrosion – and the lead, metal sulfates, et al that its made of – leaches into the ground and eventually into the water table.  And that means that the reservoirs and aquifers that provide our drinking and bathing water to municipalities comes to us in a potentially toxic state.  For all that Call2Recycle collects 3,500 tons of rechargeable batteries every year, another 14,000 tons end up in land fills.  Standard sanitation methods do not necessarily remove all of those toxins, which is why some cities recommend filtering tap water, even though its come through the sanitation centers.

The easy answer for a long-term solution would be for no one to ever throw their batteries away in the garbage.  It’s a lofty goal, sure, but one that is admirable and desirable.  Until then, Call2Recycle continues to take your rechargeable batteries and disposes of them safely by processing them into new products – and drop-off points are easy to find since, as we mentioned, every RadioShack all 48 contiguous states and now Hawaii and Puerto Rico have places for you to drop off your rechargeable batteries.  Call2Recycle does not take single-use batteries at this time, but until they do, you can find a safe disposal place through Earth911.

Happy Earth Day from RadioShack! We know you’re our partner in keeping our planet safe, especially since it’s the only one we know of with chocolate.

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