This is a favorite topic of mine. I’m fond of saying “you can recycle just about anything as long as you can get enough of it in one place”. But why are some plentiful items, such as alkaline batteries, not widely recycled? I think it comes down to economics. I work extensively in the asphalt shingle recycling industry. Asphalt shingle recycling rates are approaching 30%, better than bottles and cans. There aren’t a lot more do-gooders in the roofing business (although they are good people) than in other businesses – it’s just that everyone in that chain, from roofers to paving companies (most recycled shingles are used to make pavement) either saves money or makes money. It makes economic sense, so people do it.
To push recycling, we really need to get things to make economic sense. I’m especially interested in making this happen for alkaline batteries and I think one day it will. In the meantime, I’ve made the subscription to Hellocycle as cheap as I can, and I really appreciate you doing it, because it helps me push battery (and CFL light bulb) recycling infrastructure.