California’s Battery and E-Waste EPR Programs are Getting an Upgrade
Two bills were recently signed into law in the state of California:
Senate Bill 1215 (SB 1215) and Assembly Bill 2440 (AB 2440). Here's what you need to know.
E-waste typically suggests unwanted keyboards, TVs, headphones — all carelessly chucked into a dumpster. But hidden in this pile of electronic trash is a bigger problem: batteries. These commodities power our devices, and have become ubiquitous in modern life. But they can be dangerous and difficult to dispose of.
Battery-caused fires at recycling plants are becoming a more common occurrence, particularly for lithium ion batteries, which are inherently flammable when exposed to high temperatures, damaged, or mishandled. One source suggests that we could be looking at 300 to 400 fires in a year in Canada and the US. The Environmental Protection Agency has flagged the issue, as an area of concern, not surprising given Americans buy approximately 3 billion batteries every year.
Why does this matter to retailers, manufacturers and waste handlers?
To reduce the number of incidents with improperly handled batteries, two bills were recently signed into law in the state of California: Senate Bill 1215 (SB 1215) and Assembly Bill 2440 (AB 2440). Both bills define the responsibilities for manufacturers and retailers going forward, and work to replace existing battery extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws in the state with a comprehensive, singular battery EPR program. This will ensure more efficient collection, handling, and disposal of used batteries. And hopefully, fewer fires.
Although action from retailers won’t be required until 2026 and state regulators will begin their work in 2025, these are significant changes for responsibly-minded entities and all who are covered under the new laws. And companies should start understanding and planning how to manage their obligations 2023 onward. Forward looking retailers should start to make detailed plans for these practices now. Data and technology solutions that streamline this process will be important. Reporting to demonstrate compliance with the new regulations will also be valuable to show that implementation of new processes is working and the ROI of following the new regulations is measurable.
Retailers especially will want to take precautions to avoid noncompliance, which can incur fines of up to $10,000 per day. Further down the supply chain, consumers will be asked to pay a fee to cover recycling costs on certain new and refurbished items, starting January 2026.
Breaking down the new California assembly and senate bills
Here’s a brief breakdown of each bill, and tips on how retailers can stay ahead of the game to ensure compliance.
CA AB2440: Responsible Battery Recycling Act of 2022
- The bill phases out the Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004 and the Rechargeable Battery Act of 2006, and enacts the Responsible Battery Recycling Act of 2022 in their place.
- These new guidelines are applicable to “covered batteries,” which are defined as: batteries sold separately from a product; batteries that can be easily removed; and batteries packaged with or in products (but not necessarily embedded in a product).
- It puts the responsibility on producers (think manufacturers and brands) to ensure that “covered batteries” are being recycled. This can be done by either creating their own stewardship program to collect batteries, or join an existing one. Programs need to be in effect by April 1, 2027.
- Producers also have to keep track of batteries sold: producers will need to report to CalRecycle all batteries and brands that are sold, distributed, or imported for sale. This must be done by March 15, 2023.
- In fact, any retailer or online marketplace selling a covered battery must be “in compliance.” A retailer or distributor, therefore, cannot sell, distribute, offer for sale, or import a covered battery in or into the state unless the producer of that covered battery is listed as “in compliance.”
TIPS FOR RETAILERS:
- Adapt to new battery collection requirements: Retailers of covered batteries with five or more locations in the state need to make all locations serve as permanent collection sites for covered batteries as part of an approved stewardship program.
- Only sell covered batteries from “compliant” producers:
- Know which covered battery producers are listed on the Calrecycle “compliant” list, and refrain from selling items from non-compliant producers.
- Penalties of $10k per day can be levied against retailers caught selling products from noncompliant producers.
- The bill amends the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (EWRA).
- It expands the definition of “covered electronic device (CED)” in California to include battery embedded products (i.e. products containing batteries that are not easily removed within common household tools). These would typically be smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, video game hardware, and some laptops.
- It also expands the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for manufacturers.
- It introduces a consumer fee at the point of sale for all battery-embedded products sold within the state.
TIPS FOR RETAILERS:
- Understand the new recycling fee requirements for battery-embedded devices:
- Be prepared to start collecting fees on January 1st, 2026.
- Retailers may retain 3% of the collected fee as reimbursement for the costs of collecting the fee.
- Retailers may pay the fee in lieu of the customer and must explicitly note if they have done so on any receipt provided.
- Understand which devices are battery embedded by the definition, or video display device.
- Manufacturers must submit an annual notice to retailers identifying the device by brand and model number and informing the retailer as to whether the product is subject to the new recycling fee.
How should retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and brands tackle these changes?
Smarter Sorting’s Product Intelligence Platform can help retailers and brands make sense of these new regulations by simplifying and streamlining the data, and thus staying in compliance.
- Easy access to data on compliant brands:
- With the PIP, Smarter Sorting has access to the state list of compliant brands, and can instantly check this list for retailers. Retailers can avoid costly fines and be in compliance.
- Identify battery embedded devices to levy the proper consumer fees:
- Because our proprietary, ingredient-level database knows exactly what is in every device (including whether the device has embedded batteries), we can instantly identify items that consumer fees must be applied to, ensuring retailers are collecting sufficient fees for the EPR programs.
- Eliminate confusion with laws and ensure compliance
- These laws can be complicated to understand with little insight at the product and brand level. But with PIP, we have all the data tied to product identifiers, so retailers don’t need to hunt around for information or guess. It’s a time-saving, and therefore, money-saving tools.
If you have questions, please reach out to the Smarter Sorting team. You can request a demo here.
Smarter Sorting and Feeding America Launch Data-Sharing Technology to Help Retailers
Smarter Sorting and Feeding America Launch New Data-Sharing Technology to Help Retailers Reduce Food and Packaged Goods Waste
Smarter Sorting and Feeding America® provide retailers with a real-time data connection with food banks to reduce food and consumer goods going to waste when they could easily be donated
AUSTIN, Texas and BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Smarter Sorting, a consumer goods data and sustainability company, today announced an integration with Feeding America's MealConnect platform to help retailers reduce food waste and donate more to hunger-relief organizations. Smarter Sorting helps retailers handle products with data intelligence — from the shelf to the back of the store, and then distributed as donations to local food banks within the Feeding America network. Retailers can now send instantaneous, automated updates about donation packages. The data-led work ensures better accuracy, visibility, and product lifecycle planning for retail donors and food banks.
The Smarter Sorting and Feeding America partnership is a testament to the ways technology and forward-thinking individuals have the power to affect real, positive change. Costco, a partner of Feeding America, helped pilot the new service. This integration for Costco not only provides actionable, real-time data to food banks, but it also closely aligns with their initiatives to be a supportive arm to the local communities where their employees and members live and work. Furthermore, this integration helps Costco's sustainability goals, specifically their work to divert 80% of their waste.
"Food and consumer goods that could be donated go to waste because there has been no real-time visibility into what is available and where it's located. Retailers and food banks need a better way to understand what donations are ready for pick up to ensure perfectly good products that can't be sold find their way to people who need them the most," says Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of Smarter Sorting. "Our real-time API connection with Feeding America breaks the mindset that it's hard to scale donations and reduce waste without disrupting normal operations."
Tony Pupillo, senior director at Feeding America, says, "Retail donations are Feeding America's largest donation source, recovering over 1.67 billion meals from retail locations in 2021. It might seem like a no-brainer that unused, edible food and essential household items from retailers could be recovered by food pantries, but unfortunately, numerous barriers can make the process inefficient and cumbersome. Offering a glimpse into what items are available prior to a donation pickup creates a more seamless donation pickup and operation overall. Now, with Smarter Sorting's API integration with Feeding America's MealConnect Platform, retailers enjoy a more seamless opportunity to give back and combat waste."
Food recovery has historically faced logistical challenges that have made communication and reporting between retailers and food pantries highly complicated. Smarter Sorting's work with 24 national big-box retailers, such as Costco, offers a solution for retailers to make significant contributions to a global food waste problem without slowing down existing operational procedures and rewarding community donations with new efficiencies.
The Food Sourcing Compliance Officer, Linda Golebiewski, of God's Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, Kentucky, says, "The ability to know four pallets of potatoes are going to be donated allows us to prepare the cook at the soup kitchen in advance of setting a menu. What Smarter Sorting and Feeding America have done has changed the way we do meal planning, engage with our community partners, and impact our communities overall."
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
About Smarter Sorting
Based in Boulder, Colo., Austin, Texas, and Los Angeles, Smarter Sorting helps companies make, market and move consumer products better. Its customers include national discount club stores and supermarkets, as well as the brands they sell. The company's customers use its Product Intelligence Platform to gain product insights and identify how to best handle regulated consumer products across the supply chain to remain compliant, avoid fines and reduce their environmental impact. The company has been honored with awards for innovation, impact and employee experience including: Fast Company's World Changing Ideas and Most Innovative Companies, Built In's Best Place to Work, as well as a Real Leader Impact Award and the SEAL Sustainable Innovation Award. Smarter Sorting is an Unreasonable Impact company. www.smartersorting.com
About God's Pantry Food Bank
The mission of God's Pantry Food Bank is to reduce hunger by working together to feed Kentucky communities. Working through more than 450 food pantries and meal programs the Food Bank serves 50 counties across Central and Eastern Kentucky. God's Pantry Food Bank distributed nearly 41.8 million pounds of food to many of the more than 250,000 neighbors facing food insecurity, including nearly 13 million pounds of fresh produce in fiscal year 2021. For more information, visit us at www.godspantryfoodbank.org.
The news team: email@example.com
Governor Newsom signs legislation to revisit necessity of aquatic toxicity testing
This press release was originally published by the National Stewardship Action Council on September 15th, 2022
For Immediate Release:
GOVERNOR NEWSOM SIGNS LEGISLATION TO REVISIT NECESSITY OF AQUATIC TOXICITY TESTING
Retailers, Environmental, Clean Air, and Animal Protection Groups Thank Legislature and Governor for Taking Steps to End Unnecessary Fish Testing and Incineration.
(SACRAMENTO) – Tuesday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law California’s Assembly Bill 1793 by Assembly member Dr. Bill Quirk, which will require the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to review the continued value of acute aquatic toxicity testing, or “aquatox” testing on live fish, which determines if waste is hazardous to the aquatic
environment. The law will also require DTSC to evaluate alternative testing methods such as calculation-based methods (otherwise known as computational toxicology) and submit a report to the Board of Environmental Safety that includes recommendations on next steps.
“We were happy to sponsor a bill that benefits so many, including the communities most impacted by incineration plants or hazardous waste landfills where these products have previously been burned or buried,” said Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of NSAC.
Currently, retailers must understand both federal and state toxicity regulations to sell and manage consumer products compliantly or are subject to hefty fines. When faced with California’s complicated hazardous testing criteria, many retailers will skip the hazardous evaluation process altogether and the waste must be presumed as toxic. Therefore, instead of conducting “aquatox” testing, the status quo for many retailers is to “play it safe” and consider all potentially hazardous waste as “hazardous”, which includes returned, cruelty-free, and unsellable products.
“The replacement of the “aquatox” test with a new calculation-based methodology means Smarter Sorting’s retail clients stand to save millions of dollars a year on the unnecessary incineration of returned and non-saleable products, plus the ability to divert some of these products away from waste altogether and donate or reuse them. Moreover, brands soon could accurately classify their product without the requirement of animal testing” said Jacqueline Claudia, Chief Executive Office for Smarter Sorting.
California is the only state that still requires the “aquatox” test on live fish, with other states having already taken action to allow for toxicity to be calculated rather than physically tested. An antiquated 30-year-old California testing requirement, AB 1793 will finally result in an evaluation of whether modern, calculation-based methods are more appropriate.
“The fish test was last updated over three decades ago. It leads to innocuous products being treated as hazardous waste,” said Assemblymember Dr. Bill Quirk. Specifically, preliminary data demonstrated that many household products fail the “aquatox” test, including nearly all soaps and shampoos. Requiring that these relatively innocuous products be managed as hazardous waste increases businesses’ costs and the burden on low-income communities where hazardous waste facilities are often located.
California already had plans to broadly reevaluate its hazardous waste testing criterion via The Budget Act of 2022, which was signed into law in June and includes a Budget Change Proposal for DTSC to add 8 positions and $1.5 million annually to evaluate all existing California hazardous waste criteria. AB 1793 simply ensures the existing hazardous waste evaluation will include consideration of the “aquatox” criteria and alternatives such as calculation-based methods. AB 1793 received unanimous votes on both the Senate and Assembly Floors, and was signed by Governor Newsom on Tuesday, September 13th
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director
National Stewardship Action Council
Original Release published on: https://www.nsaction.us/
The Product Intelligence Platform™: The single source of truth for accurate product classification
At SmarterX, we put sustainability into action, especially when it comes to classifying consumer products.
Inaccurate, slow and error-prone classification methods leave:
- Retailers with uncertainty about store level product compliance
- Stakeholders vulnerable to regulatory fines and supply chain delays
- Shipping companies and regulated waste haulers with logistical dilemmas
A platform for peace of mind
The Product Intelligence Platform™️ is a secure, cloud-based database linking our retail partners and brands to fast and accurate regulatory product classifications.
The Product Intelligence Platform™️ is the place where products are classified. It's a platform for retailers and brand manufacturers to collaborate. Retailers can manage all their hazardous and regulated products. Brands have an easy, frictionless way to share their product data. The result: retailers and brands can make decisions using accurate product data.
We recently completed registration for all regulated products for a major retailer with 2,200+ stores. Products registered shot up over 30% in the past 3 months to meet the retailer's registration deadline.
"The registration process was very easy. I didn’t expect our products to be reviewed and approved so quickly - and yet they were. I am very happy with the Product Intelligence Platform!” - Edward Ro, Pureboost
Our Product Intelligence Platform™️ is at the heart of delivering impressive results in three key areas:
1) Accurate product classifications
Brands register their products by entering a few details to get the most accurate product classifications, without revealing confidential information.
2) Instant regulatory and compliance decisions
With the Back of Store System (BOSS), retailers get waste codes, transportation regulations and disposal classifications for every product on their shelves.
3) Detailed EHS reports and insights
Through Tableau dashboards and tracking of EHS/ESG metrics, retailers and brands can access a comprehensive suite of reporting and insights.
With our platform, registering products is simple. Brands can register products one-by-one, or in bulk. Check out our step-by-step product registration guide.
Data from the source
We collect a vast amount of data on everyday consumer products. Currently, we are in the process of registering the entire catalog (3,600+ products) of the world’s largest consumer goods company.
- We only collect product information from trusted sources to make sure we have the most accurate data.
- We only ask for information we need. Full product formulation and proprietary data is likely not required for accurate classification.
- We fill in the gaps with additional product data from trusted sources like SmartLabel, 1WorldSync or Salsify.
Mind your Rs and Cs: Classifications translated into Regulation and Compliance
We are the first to take a computational approach to product classifications. We use machine learning, computational chemistry and regulatory AI to marry our millions of product data points with over 7,000 rules and regulations, some of which are listed below:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
California Air Resources Board (CARB)
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG)
A Real Leaders Eco Innovation Award Winner
The Product Intelligence Platform™️ has been recognized by Real Leaders as a Top 50 winner in the 2022 Real Leaders® Eco Innovation Awards, a distinction that celebrates innovative environmental solutions for the greater good.
The Product Intelligence Platform™ is being used by over 1,600 brand manufacturers who supply some of the biggest US supermarket chains and one of the world’s largest warehouse clubs.
Placing product intelligence in the hands of retailers and brands, our Product Intelligence Platform™ is the platform you can trust.
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