SACRAMENTO -- Household batteries are used everywhere, from remote controls, to clocks to your wireless computer mouse. While they are useful, State Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) says the millions of batteries used in California are also causing big trouble.
"When there's a 150 million of them sold in the state each year, that's creating a whole lot of battery waste," said Williams.
To combat the problem, Williams notes that several years ago, state lawmakers came up with what they thought was a solution. "Starting back in 2006, it is now illegal to put them in our landfill for toxic waste reasons."
But despite the law, very few Californians are putting used batteries where they belong. "Only five percent of them are recycled because right now the programs are voluntary participation by the battery manufacturer," said Williams.
To help increase battery recycling statewide, Williams has introduced a bill (AB 488) that would create a recycling and disposal program. "It requires an extended producer's responsibility that they have a long term responsibility of the batteries that they produce," said Williams.
If passed, Williams said the new law would help local governments and taxpayers which currently pay up to $2700 per ton to manage discarded batteries.
"That kind of a law will, number one, incentivize companies to build batteries that have long lives and secondly, that means it's not just the taxpayer on the hook, it's also the manufacturer on the hook for figuring out adequate plans and adequate recycling plans to properly dispose of these batteries."
Williams believes by putting the responsibility onto the shoulders of manufacturers, it will ultimately create an easier and more efficient system of recycling for consumers.
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