Energizer has release a new line of "Eco" branded alkaline batteries that contain 4% recycled material. While speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Michelle Atkinson, the Chief Marketing Officer admitted that there is a problem related to recyclers not processing alkaline batteries right now. Energizer hopes that by creating economic value for this recycling, they can jump start this new line of business for recyclers.
Why aren't alkaline batteries being recycled today
Companies stopped using mercury in the mid 90s therefore most jurisdictions allow consumers to simply discard them with their normal household trash. Sure there is some steel (top and bottom covers) but this is so small the recovery cost would outweigh any sale receipts.
Energizer Eco Advanced only contains 4% recycled material
My first reaction when I learned about this battery was "Only 4% recycled material hardly seems like a breakthrough". Energizer has said it wants to continue research to increase the proportion slowly over time (reaching 40% by 2025).
On a positive note, Energizer claims this is their highest performing alkaline battery to date, which is definitely a good thing. There is a very slight price premium per pack for these Eco batteries compared to their regular products.
Recycling is a fantastic exercise and anything that allows us to reduce our use of natural resources is definitely commendable. The reality is that these batteries only contain 4% recycle material which is nice but not earth shattering.
Plus it is important to keep in mind that many store brand batteries cost much less and perform almost as well as the name brands. So Energizer is hoping the Eco budget will appeal to an environmentally conscious crowd that is less cost conscious (aka willing to spend more to feel good about themselves).
The major breakthrough will be when they finally get over 40% recycled.