January 9, 2006

Hamilton, Halton are regional winners of leadership award for battery recycling

Hamilton, Ontario and the Regional Municipality of Halton were recently selected as co-recipients of a Regional Community Recycling Leadership Award by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit public service organization dedicated to recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones. The awards, now in their fifth year, recognize RBRC's community program participants for their outstanding efforts in rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling through the Call2Recycle(tm) program.

Since enrolling in the RBRC collection program in 2003, Hamilton has generated a high level of community involvement in program, resulting in the collection of over 8,500 pounds of rechargeable batteries to date. Halton has used sustained community outreach and local promotions to encourage participation in the program. Its efforts have paid off, with a total of 20,575 pounds of rechargeable batteries being collected over the past two years.

"Since 1996, RBRC has collected more than 26 million pounds of rechargeable batteries in the U.S. and Canada," said RBRC executive vice-president Ralph Millard. He attributed this success "in large part due to the efforts of our community programs making it easy to recycle rechargeable batteries."

More than 500 communities in Canada and the U.S. have signed on to the RBRC's rechargeable battery recycling program, which is available to communities and public agencies without any associated fees. The Atlanta-based organization has just reported a substantial increase during 2005 in both participation and quantities recycled.

Almost five million pounds of rechargeable batteries were collected in the U.S. and Canada last year, an increase of nearly 10% from 2004. Moreover, community participation increased by 18% while public agency participation increased by 38%.

"The rise in rechargeable batteries collected points to the increased demand for having an 'unplugged' lifestyle," said the RBRC's Millard. He said a survey by the organization last year "found that respondents use an average of six cordless products every day, as compared to three in 1999. This means there are even more rechargeable batteries out there that can and should be recycled," he added.

Participation by businesses also increased significantly last year, by 26% percent. This is attributed at least partly to RBRC's decision to waive all associated participation fees for businesses in 2005. Businesses need no longer pay for the shipping of rechargeable batteries and cell phones collected at the workplace. Once registered, participants receive a free shipment of collection boxes that includes pre-paid shipping, pre-addressed shipping labels, safety instructions and plastic bags for each used rechargeable battery and cell phone.

The RBRC itself was honoured in 2005, being named "Industry Steward of the Year" award at the 7th Annual Mobius Environmental Awards, presented by the Nova Scotia Resource Recovery Fund Board.

More information, including the nearest participating drop-off location, is available on the RBRC Web site, www.call2recycle.org.

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