Waste Today: RBC supports Backhaul Alaska program

Backhaul Alaska hauled 145,000 pounds of spent vehicle batteries in 2022, RBC says.

The Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a coalition of companies and academic organizations committed to the responsible management of vehicle and equipment batteries, has announced the success of Backhaul Alaska’s 2022 battery retrieval program. The hazardous waste hauling program retrieved and recycled approximately 145,000 pounds of spent lead-acid batteries from 45 remote Alaskan communities, RBC says.

According to RBC, lead-acid batteries are a vital energy source in Alaska, providing critical power for snow machines, all-terrain vehicles, boats, tractors, automobiles and trucks. 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.?

“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,”?Steve Christensen, executive director of RBC, says.?“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,”?Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska says.?“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 million pounds of used vehicle and equipment batteries to reduce the environmental impact in these communities.”?

RBC says it 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 the program. RBC awarded $20,558 to the Backhaul program for collecting approximately 100,000 pounds of spent battery cores in 2021. 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,”?says Lynn Zender, executive director of Anchorage, Alaska-based 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.”

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, according to Zender.

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

By:  Tess Kazdin
Source: Waste Today