Statewide Battery Recycling Programs Created Under New Law

Sacramento, Calif. — Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Responsible Battery Recycling Act today as part of a larger climate action package.

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  • Joel Price
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Sacramento, Calif. — Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Responsible Battery Recycling Act today as part of a larger climate action package. Together, SB 1215 and AB 2440 will create a statewide collection and recycling program for consumer batteries and products that contain batteries. The signing of these bills mark the culmination of many years of effort to address battery waste.

California classifies batteries as hazardous waste and bans them from solid waste landfills because of the hazardous metals and corrosive materials that batteries contain. When improperly discarded, batteries pose serious fire, health and safety hazards that disrupt the state’s waste stream and poison the environment.

"Most people know that power tools, smartwatches, wireless earbuds and cell phones do not belong in the trash. However, the proper disposal of these devices and their lithium-ion batteries is often unclear, inconvenient, expensive or unavailable,” said Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), author of SB 1215. “In addition to giving consumers an easy way to recycle their battery-embedded products and batteries, these bills will prevent fires and environmental accidents from occurring, thereby protecting the health of the public, reducing the risks to waste facility workers, and better safeguarding California’s land, water and air.”

SB 1215 expands California’s existing Electronic Waste Recycling Act to include products containing batteries that cannot be easily removed with household tools. This legislation helps to curb the amount of battery-embedded products that are improperly disposed of so that they no longer pose a danger to the companies and employees charged with managing our waste stream.

“Few people know that batteries are actually hazardous waste and those of us who do have containers of used batteries we don’t know what to do with. This means the majority of batteries end up in curbside waste bins, causing damage to our recycling facilities which ultimately requires rate payers to pay more on our utility bills,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), author of AB 2440. “A big thank you to Governor Newsom for his signature today, paving the way for AB 2440 and SB 1215 to disrupt this dilemma by requiring the producer to pay for the collection of these batteries. With so many of our everyday household items being powered by batteries, we have a responsibility to alleviate the potential danger and recover the valuable minerals used in their production.”