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IARC 24

Backhaul Alaska Retrieves, Recycles 145,000 Pounds of Spent Vehicle, Equipment Batteries from Remote Alaskan Communities

Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC) members support program’s battery recycling, environmental protection initiatives

 

Backhaul Alaska Retrieves, Recycles 145,000 Pounds of Spent Vehicle, Equipment Batteries from Remote Alaskan Communities p

ANCHORAGE AND WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC), a coalition of leading companies and academic organizations committed to the responsible management of vehicle and equipment batteries, recently applauded Backhaul Alaska’s successful 2022 program, which retrieved and recycled approximately 145,000 pounds of spent lead acid batteries from 45 remote Alaskan communities.

 

The Backhaul Alaska program, administered by the Solid Waste Alaska Taskforce (SWAT), includes the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Kawerak and the non-profit Zender Environmental Health, which manages the program on a daily basis.

Lead-acid batteries are a vital energy source in Alaska, providing critical power for snow machines, ATVs, boats, tractors and other heavy equipment, as well as automobiles and trucks. However, due to the remote locations of many communities, retrieving and transporting spent lead-acid batteries is challenging and costly, so batteries often remain in those remote communities and pose a potential threat to public health and safety.

Backhaul Alaska Retrieves, Recycles 145,000 Pounds of Spent Vehicle, Equipment Batteries from Remote Alaskan Communities p two
During a training session for Backhaul Alaska volunteers in Anchorage, AK, last year, RBC’s John Kyte presented a check for $20,558 to Simone Sebalo of Zender Environmental in payment for the 100,000 pounds of lead-acid battery “cores” collected for recycling during the 2021 Backhaul Alaska initiative.

“RBC is proud to partner with Backhaul Alaska in protecting human health and the environment in these remote communities, while also creating a more circular economy for vehicle and equipment batteries,” said Steve Christensen, executive director of RBC. “Only through extensive coordination and cooperation among volunteers and stakeholders across Alaska are we able to help keep batteries out of the environment and recycled in an accountable, traceable system.”

“Alaska’s rural communities face the challenge of waste removal, including used lead-acid batteries,” Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. “The Backhaul Alaska program deserves our support, and I’m pleased to see the Responsible Battery Coalition joining forces with Alaskans. This program will help us eventually recover and recycle more than 3,000,000 pounds of used vehicle and equipment batteries to reduce the environmental impact in these communities.”

RBC supports the Backhaul Alaska program by providing packing, shipping and training supplies, supporting battery transportation by barge and providing recycling services, all at no cost to Backhaul Alaska. In 2021, RBC also paid $20,558 back to the Backhaul program for the spent battery “cores,” which are 99% recyclable and contain valuable materials. This funding is used to help support new volunteer training sessions, purchase equipment and reduce operational costs.

“RBC has been one of our strongest partners since joining us in 2018,” said Lynn Zender, executive director of Zender Environmental. “Their financial and logistical support helps us apply limited resources where they are needed most and is a key part of our plans to expand the program from 45 remote communities in 2022 to approximately 180 communities by 2030.”

Zender also noted that the 2023 Backhaul Alaska season is well underway with an increase in the number of communities served and an anticipated increase in batteries removed and recycled.

RBC’s support of Backhaul Alaska is part of its nationwide battery recovery campaign, the 2 Million Battery Challenge.

About the Responsible Battery Coalition

The Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC) is a coalition of companies, academics and organizations committed to the responsible management of the batteries of today and tomorrow. Its goal is to advance the responsible production, transport, sale, use, reuse, recycling, and resource recovery of transportation, industrial and stationary batteries and other energy storage devices. The top priorities for the organization are to promote life-cycle management regardless of technology, address current vehicle batteries not recycled each year, and develop best practices for the next generation batteries.

For more information about the Responsible Battery Coalition and its programs, visit www.responsiblebatterycoalition.org.

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