Energizer has unveiled a new line of EcoAdvanced alkaline batteries made with 4 percent recycled material. The company says it's the first major brand to introduce such a product and says it spent seven years researching the process to prove the economic case for recycling. "Today there is a bottleneck [in processing]," Michelle Atkinson, Energizer’s chief marketing officer told The Wall Street Journal, explaining that many recycling firms don't bother with alkaline batteries. "[But] because we have created economic value for this output, that is going to enable more processing to come online."
Alkaline batteries aren't usually worth the bother to recycle
Unlike the weighty lead-acid batteries used in cars, household alkaline batteries are not commonly recycled. Since their use of toxic mercury was phased out in the mid-90s, consumers in all states except California have been allowed to safely dispose of alkaline batteries alongside regular trash. But although some material like steel can be recovered from spent AA and AAA batteries and used to create reinforced steel, the process is often too costly to bother with.
Energizer’s new EcoAdvanced brand may only contain a small amount of recycled material at the moment, but the company claims it wants to raise this proportion from 4 percent to 40 percent by 2025. It also says that the EcoAdvanced batteries are its highest performing yet — an improvement that will mean fewer batteries are used in the first place. There's a small price bump to bear (a four-pack of EcoAdvanced will cost around $5), but for consumers, this might be worth it to make their remote controls that little bit more eco-friendly. Tests have shown time and time again that generic batteries offer the same value as well-known brands, and appealing to consumers' consciences (rather than their wallets) might pay off for Energizer. Still, if you really want to be eco-friendly, you can always switch to rechargeable batteries.