There’s a battle over battery recycling and materials recovery processes brewing in Ontario, Canada. A proposed new battery recycling program could threaten the local industry and jobs, and impact the US environment as well.
Expanding its commitment to environmental sustainability, LEI Products’ Certified Carbonfree® Eco Alkalines Batteries™ recently partnered with Raw Materials Company (RMC) to support 100% recycling of its batteries. In addition to assessing the batteries’ full life cycle carbon emissions and neutralizing those emissions through Carbonfund.org, Eco Alkalines wanted to ensure that their battery was truly sustainable through the end-of-use and disposal portion of its life cycle.
RMC uses an innovative mechanical process that crushes the batteries to separate all of the component materials. 100% of each battery is reused and up to 92% is up-cycled. The paper and plastic from alkaline batteries, which makes up approximately 8% to 15% of the battery depending on type, is used to produce energy. RMC’s process to recycle alkaline batteries creates negligible greenhouse gas emissions and produces zero secondary waste -- none of the component materials are sent to the landfill. Additionally, all of the recovered materials are consumed locally within 300 miles of RMC.
By partnering with RMC, Eco Alkalines is confident that the end-of-life processing of the batteries achieves the greatest possible recycling and environmental outcomes.
But the recent revelation that Waste Diversion Ontario is actively considering a proposal by a company called Call2Recycle, which could potentially wipe out Raw Materials Company, is causing concerns ranging from potential job losses to compromised environmental standards.
Eco Alkalines Batteries™ does not support the proposal put forth by Call2Recycle to process old batteries, as they view this alternative for battery recycling as a return to more wasteful and environmentally harmful methods.
It’s also worth noting that Call2Recycle’s proposal likely would result in exporting the battery recycling, and its attendant waste and carbon dioxide emissions, to the US.
So why would Waste Diversion Ontario, be considering another option for battery recycling, especially since the Canadian government currently is considering a proposed Waste Reduction Act, Bill 91, with progressive new recycling standards?
Call2Recycle, who represents major battery players Duracell and Energizer, has historically used Pennsylvania-based smelter company INMETCO to process old batteries. Not only would a move to Care2Recycle’s proposal likely put RMC out of business, eliminating the employment of close to 50 Ontario residents in a period marked by economic instability, but also it likely would prove to be a much less environmentally sound option. The smelting process is cheap; however, the environmental performance is extremely poor because a steel smelter was not designed to recycle alkaline batteries. The burning process creates unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions as well as a secondary waste called slag, which contains high concentrations of heavy metals. This slag is often used as filler for asphalt roads and considered by most to be a waste as it cannot be re-used.
Call2Recycle may be able to quote a lower bid, but the costs to the local Ontario economy and the impact on the environment may well outweigh the perceived benefit of a reduction in Canada’s government spending. Carbonfund.org joins Eco Alkalines Batteries ™ in supporting innovative product recycling, reclamation and reuse developed by companies like Raw Materials Company.
Leadership requires action, and that action often starts with the leader’s own decisions and choices. New CarbonFree® Business Partner Arcolution took a leadership step in hastening the evolution of architectural firms towards more sustainable and environmentally-sensitive practices.
Arcolution is a full-service architecture firm, representing architecture in evolution. The firm aspires to conceive, design and build a future based on the premise of supporting life and natural systems.
“The building industry has a hugely significant environmental footprint in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, disruption of natural systems and profligate waste stream. As an architecture firm, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to rethink how we will inhabit this earth,” says Eve Reynolds, Principal Architect at Arcolution. “One by one, we can move a stone, but when we work together we can move mountains. That is why we choose to partner with Carbonfund.org - to make our impact that much more effective.”
By neutralizing 36 metric tonnes of annual operational emissions and supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air technology projects, Arcolution will achieve CarbonFree® operations.
Arcolution is committed to leading toward the change they envision in the built environment in three ways: first, by setting an example in the choices they make in their work environment; second, by encouraging environmental awareness, conservation and reduction of personal carbon footprints; and third, by becoming educators to their clients and promoting the most energy efficient solutions for each project.
Arcolution has committed as a firm to offset its annual carbon footprint through Carbonfund.org and encourages all of its clients to offset the carbon footprint of their projects managed by Arcolution.
Summer vacation travel is winding down, and many will suffer the sore backs and shoulders that come with carting luggage and sports equipment through airports, hotels, and in and out of cars. This pain and hassle can be avoided, thanks to two guys who met in high school and spent their share of time schlepping bags while traveling. They formed Luggage Forward, providing guaranteed door-to-door luggage and sports equipment delivery to more than 200 countries worldwide, allowing clients the convenience of traveling without their luggage.
Five years ago, Luggage Forward took another progressive step to improve the sustainability of their service. Through Carbonfund.org’s CarbonFree® Shipping program, Luggage Forward allows clients to offset the carbon dioxide emissions generated from the airplanes, trucks and trains that are used in the shipment of each bag.
“We’re pleased to offer clients who send their luggage with Luggage Forward the opportunity to help in the fight against climate change by purchasing carbon offsets,” says Zeke Adkins, co-founder of Luggage Forward. “Considering the environmental impact of carbon emissions, we believe that taking these steps is a matter of basic corporate responsibility.”
Luggage Forward was born out of the simple idea that we should all be able to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, by eliminating long waits, the aggravation of lost luggage and the burden of carrying heavy bags. Forwarding luggage allows you to save time at the airport by avoiding the long check-in lines and skipping the wait at the baggage carousel. When you send your luggage with Luggage Forward, it is guaranteed to arrive on time or they’ll refund your money and give you up to $500 per bag to make it right. And with the CarbonFree® Shipping program, you can make it right by the environment by neutralizing the carbon emissions created by shipping your bag.
As is the case with many of our eco-tourism business partners, Eagle-Eye Tours of Windermere, Canada recognizes the environmental impact of their educational tour programs and is doing something about it. Eagle-Eye Tours covers the globe with diverse tours, ranging from ones with a birding focus to tours combining photography and wildlife, birds and gardens and more, visiting some of the wildest corners of our planet. Tour travel and onsite lodging creates carbon dioxide emissions, which Eagle-Eye Tours works to minimize but also realizes that all emissions cannot be avoided.
To address this negative by-product of their tours, Eagle-Eye Tours has maintained a CarbonFree® operation for the past five years by calculating annual tour-related emissions then supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air technology and carbon reduction projects to neutralize those emissions. To date, Eagle-Eye Tours has mitigated almost 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions through their CarbonFree® program, equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by almost 23,000 tree seedlings planted and grown for ten years.
"We travel the world enjoying birds and other wildlife, but realize that many of these species are threatened by climate change,” explains Cam Gillies, Director of Eagle-Eye Tours. “We are excited to continue to offset the carbon emissions from our operations and to take concrete action in the conservation of the biodiversity we so enjoy."
Eagle-Eye Tours offsets all of the carbon dioxide emissions produced from all guide and on-tour participant flights, vehicle use during tours and operations, ship use, and the electricity used by their office. They also design tours that visit reserves and lodges that have been established to demonstrate and deliver benefits from conservation to the local community. Eagle- Eye Tours offers tour participants the option to help with environmental sustainability by offsetting flights from their departure to the start of the tour. This ongoing commitment to sustainable tour management helps to set apart Eagle-Eye Tours as a leader in ecotourism and demonstrated environmental responsibility in all aspects of their operation.
The world of social media has opened new channels for all businesses and organizations to reach their customers and supporters, but for many, it’s a strange new world requiring new skills and expertise.
Enter CarbonFree® Business Partner Salsa Labs. Salsa helps nonprofits and political campaigns “ignite action and fuel change” around the world by growing and engaging their base of support online. With Salsa’s technology tools and training, groups of all sizes can easily organize their supporters and chapters then improve efforts to fundraise, advocate, communicate through email and social media, host events and measure their results. And despite the fossil fuel references in Salsa’s tagline, Salsa Labs has been a CarbonFree® Business for the past three years, partnering with Carbonfund.org to neutralize its own annual operating emissions. By supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction projects, Salsa Labs has mitigated almost 500,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the emissions created by using almost 25,000 gallons of gasoline.
“Carbonfund.org shares our core values of making the world a better place,” says Christine Schaefer, Vice President, Community & Marketing. “Their commitment to the environment and fighting climate change is inspiring and we look forward to this partnership.”
Salsa is proud to help their nonprofit clients fight for a healthier environment coast to coast and around the world, and Carbonfund.org is equally proud to help Salsa Labs meet its own sustainability initiatives through the CarbonFree® Partnership program.
A basic tenet of business leadership is to lead by example, “walk the walk and talk the talk” and “practice what you preach.” CarbonFree® Business Partner AQS Management Systems leads by the example of “practicing what they teach” in the area of environmental sustainability.
AQS Management Systems, Inc. provides a broad range of consulting, ISO training, coaching, and project assistance in support of organizational improvement programs and implementation of international management system standards. As part of their training platform, AQS provides training on Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001) to organizations throughout the country and world.
AQS knows that it is important to “practice what they teach”, and to do what they can to be good corporate citizens by diminishing wasteful activity and encouraging other businesses to do the same.
For the past five years as a CarbonFree® Business Partner, AQS has supported Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency projects with donations that equate to neutralizing the electricity consumption from ten average US households during each of those five years.
"I did a lot of research and thought that Carbonfund.org looked like one of the most reputable organizations in the area,” states Ben Ames, Vice President of AQS Management Systems. “It was important to us that the money we paid was used responsibly and we felt that the 3rd party audits and other corporate clients of Carbonfund.org were a good sign."
Carbonfund.org commends AQS for their continued commitment to the CarbonFree® Partnership program and to environmental sustainability as part of their overall mission to provide excellent training to other businesses in the area of environmental and organizational improvement strategies.
Recent research by a team from Tel Aviv University employed three NASA satellites to measure pollutants in the atmosphere over 189 of the world’s megacities, providing a new global standard for assessing levels of air pollution in various parts of the Earth’s atmosphere. Ensuring that such uses of space technology, for environmental analysis and other human and environmental security applications, is available now and for generations to come is one of the policy discussions encouraged by the Secure World Foundation (SWF), dedicated to promoting cooperative solutions for the secure and sustainable use of outer space for the benefit of humanity and the environment.
The Secure World Foundation works with governments, industry, international organizations and civil society to develop and promote ideas and actions for international collaboration regarding the safe, secure and sustainable use of outer space.
For the past six years, SWF has taken a leadership position with respect to its own operations by neutralizing its annual carbon emissions through its support of Carbonfund.org’s global carbon reduction projects.
“Our Foundation’s core values challenge us to be good stewards of all our resources to minimize our impact on the Earth. By upholding our core values, we feel that we show our shared dedication to achieving our mission and our commitment to a sustainable environment on Earth as well as in space.”
Carbonfund.org encourages all of our business partners to shoot for the stars in pursuing meaningful and long-term sustainability initiatives as an integral part of your business plan. Call us to discuss ways your business can achieve carbon neutral operations and support important clean air and renewable energy technology projects around the world.