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.
Carbonfund.org is pleased to announce the addition of a new Certified Carbonfree® Product that no only neutralizes its product’s cradle-to-grave production emissions but also produces a source of renewable energy from reclaimed coffee grounds waste.
Kofcan Inc.’s biomass fuel pellets, which are made from spent coffee grounds, have earned Carbonfree® certification from Carbonfund.org Foundation and NSF Sustainability, a division of global public health organization NSF International. Carbonfree® product certification for its 15 kg, 25 kg and 1.5 kg bags of coffee pellets is a credible, transparent way for Kofcan to provide a carbon-neutral fuel source to home owners and environmentally-conscious companies.
Kofcan’s biomass fuel pellets were designed to recycle waste into energy and provide a more efficient and lower environmental impact alternative to wood pellets. Instead of contributing to landfills, the spent coffee from which the pellets are made is collected from restaurants and institutions in a 200 km radius of the micro pellets plant in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. The resulting pellets have a higher energy output, generating 27.5 percent more BTUs (British Thermal Units) than wood pellets.
“Kofcan and its founders Michel Cordeau and Sylvain Laroche have developed a truly waste-free and efficient energy source. With the addition of Carbonfree® certification through NSF Sustainability, Kofcan is able to demonstrate the carbon neutrality of its coffee pellets and communicate to home owners as well as industrial companies its commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF International’s Sustainability Division.
“Kofcan is proud to have the first energy pellet to be certified Carbonfree® as well as the first energy pellet that creates viable energy from a waste product instead of the harvesting and processing of trees,” said Michel Cordeau, CEO and founder of Kofcan, Inc.
In addition to maintaining a low carbon footprint by sourcing spent coffee from local businesses, Kofcan also assessed the environmental impacts of its coffee pellets by undergoing a detailed life cycle assessment to measure its carbon emissions in North America. Kofcan then offset its carbon emissions through investment in third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry carbon offset projects provided by Carbonfund.org, a leading nonprofit and developer of the Carbonfree® Product Certification program, the first carbon neutral product label in North America.
“Increasingly, companies are recognizing the importance and value of offering carbon-neutral products and carbon content labeling,” said Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org. “Undergoing a comprehensive process to achieve carbon neutrality and Carbonfree® Product certification for their coffee pellets, which are a unique renewable energy source from a waste material, marks Kofcan as a leader in the solution to global warming.”
The Carbonfree® Product Certification program uses life cycle assessments (LCAs) to determine the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over a product’s entire life cycle. GHG emissions (expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents) that cannot be reduced or eliminated from the product’s life cycle are offset or neutralized with third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry carbon offset projects.
Carbonfree® certified products earn the use of the Carbonfree® mark along with being listed in the Carbonfund.org online product certification database. The Carbonfree® mark can be found on a variety of products today, including food, beverage, electronics and apparel.
Clean water - a basic necessity for life and sustainability, yet almost 800 million people in our world still lack access to it. Carbonfund.org Certified Carbonfree® partner Nika Water not only ensures that their products’ carbon dioxide emissions are fully neutralized, but Nika uses the power of water to help bring clean water to those in need.
Five years ago, Nika took the important step to perform a life cycle assessment of their bottled water, measuring the carbon emissions required to source and transport the water, manufacture the bottles, caps, labels and packaging, deliver the water to distribution outlets, then use and recycle the empty water bottles. As each bottle of Nika Water is sold, Nika makes a corresponding donation to Carbonfund.org to neutralize the carbon emissions attributable to that bottle of water. Nika’s ongoing donations to Carbonfund.org support reforestation projects around the world that absorb carbon dioxide emissions while providing additional environmental benefits to the wildlife, habitat and communities in and around the projects.
“After extensive research, we determined that Carbonfund.org was the superior provider of carbon footprint solutions due to their professionalism, pragmatic and business friendly solutions, list of available projects and complete operational transparency ensuring that Nika was devoting its resources in a truly meaningful way,” explains Jordan Mellul, General Manager for Nika.
Now Nika has launched another project to bring a safe, clean source of water to a community in need. In the West Sumatra region of Indonesia, the community of Muntei Kecil uses the river as their primary water source, even though the unsanitary condition and poor quality of the water threatens their health. As part of Nika’s ongoing mission to use the power of water to make a positive impact, Nika is partnering with Surfaid to build a solar powered water pump with water source protection to serve the community in Muntei Kecil.
With access to clean water, the community will be able to grow and become sustainable. All Nika Water purchases participate in this project and others that Nika supports in addressing the growing need for clean, safe drinking water around the world. By directing 100% of its profits from the sale of its bottled water to alleviate water and sanitation needs in impoverished countries, Nika hopes to solve the water needs of thousands of families throughout the world. Carbonfund.org values our partnership with Nika Water and supports their efforts to reduce the global water crisis.