Press Release

Statewide Battery Recycling Programs Created Under New Law

Sacramento, Calif. — Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Responsible Battery Recycling Act today as part of a larger climate action package. Together, SB 1215 and AB 2440 will create a statewide collection and recycling program for consumer batteries and products that contain batteries. The signing of these bills mark the culmination of many years of effort to address battery waste.

California classifies batteries as hazardous waste and bans them from solid waste landfills because of the hazardous metals and corrosive materials that batteries contain. When improperly discarded, batteries pose serious fire, health and safety hazards that disrupt the state’s waste stream and poison the environment.

"Most people know that power tools, smartwatches, wireless earbuds and cell phones do not belong in the trash. However, the proper disposal of these devices and their lithium-ion batteries is often unclear, inconvenient, expensive or unavailable,” said Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), author of SB 1215. “In addition to giving consumers an easy way to recycle their battery-embedded products and batteries, these bills will prevent fires and environmental accidents from occurring, thereby protecting the health of the public, reducing the risks to waste facility workers, and better safeguarding California’s land, water and air.”

SB 1215 expands California’s existing Electronic Waste Recycling Act to include products containing batteries that cannot be easily removed with household tools. This legislation helps to curb the amount of battery-embedded products that are improperly disposed of so that they no longer pose a danger to the companies and employees charged with managing our waste stream.

“Few people know that batteries are actually hazardous waste and those of us who do have containers of used batteries we don’t know what to do with. This means the majority of batteries end up in curbside waste bins, causing damage to our recycling facilities which ultimately requires rate payers to pay more on our utility bills,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), author of AB 2440. “A big thank you to Governor Newsom for his signature today, paving the way for AB 2440 and SB 1215 to disrupt this dilemma by requiring the producer to pay for the collection of these batteries. With so many of our everyday household items being powered by batteries, we have a responsibility to alleviate the potential danger and recover the valuable minerals used in their production.”

AB 2440 establishes the nation’s largest extended-producer responsibility (EPR) battery program. Creating convenient collection and recycling for batteries, this bill will eliminate the threat of fires at waste facilities and the recovery and reuse of the valuable and finite minerals contained in the batteries.

Together, these pieces of legislation will replace the current confusing and unsafe process for battery disposal with a safe, convenient, and accessible system for consumers to dispose of depleted batteries and battery-embedded products.

SB 1215 and AB 2440 will go into effect on January 1, 2023. 


“SB 1215 and AB 2440 are the culmination of more than four years of effort by the legislature to address the existential threat that improperly-disposed batteries pose to our recycling system,” said Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy for Californians Against Waste, a co-sponsor of the bills. “Together these bills will give consumers free and convenient battery recycling options for loose batteries and devices that have batteries, which will not only keep batteries out of our environment but will also create thousands of recycling jobs and will reduce the need for destructive mining of finite materials.”

“After working on this issue since 2014, including several legislative attempts with one in 2014 and then the last four years straight, there is finally a consumer convenient solution to collect and properly manage both loose batteries and battery-embedded products”, said Doug Kobold, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council, a co-sponsor of the bills. He goes on to say that “without the perseverance of our Co-Sponsors, and more importantly, our Principal Co-Authors of both AB 2440 and SB 1215 and their staff members, we would not be here today. “

“This year alone, RethinkWaste has already suffered 6 fires due to a lithium-ion or suspected lithium-ion battery. I fear every day an improperly disposed of product with an embedded battery or loose battery could result in another catastrophic fire like the one we faced in 2016,” said Joe LaMariana, Executive Director of RethinkWaste, a co-sponsor of the bills. “SB 1215 and AB 2440 together will protect our workers and infrastructure from the growing number of batteries entering the waste stream on a daily basis. We are grateful for Senator Newman and Assemblymember Irwin's leadership on this critical issue.”

“I am proud to coauthor SB 1215 and AB 2440. I have seen firsthand the damage caused by improperly discarded, lithium-ion batteries which can result in serious fire, health, and safety hazards.  There has been an alarming number of fires in material recovery facilities, waste collection trucks, and landfills caused by improperly disposed of lithium-ion batteries including the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos. Such fires not only pollute the atmosphere and surrounding community, cause extensive damage to city and county waste collection vehicles, equipment, and facilities, they also endanger the lives of workers who handle consumer waste. The Responsible Recycling Act will ensure that consumers have free access to collection sites while waste disposal workers are kept more safe from these fire prone products,” said Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo).

“California must do a better job recycling materials and sorting out what ends up in our landfills. Batteries are health and safety hazards for our environment and our workers. That is why I support this bill to provide a convenient and accessible system for consumers to dispose of their batteries. It will prevent fires, protect workers and reduce toxic waste,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont).

“Today, even well-meaning Californians can create dire safety hazards – like the 2016 fire at the San Carlos materials recovery facility – by placing rechargeable batteries into the wrong recycling stream. SB 1215 and AB 2440 will make it easier for Californians to safely recycle used household batteries, including the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can explode and ignite fires if they are not disposed of properly. I’m a proud coauthor of this common-sense bill to simplify what is now a confusing, multi-step process for Californians who want to do the right thing with their depleted batteries. Thank you to Senator Newman and Assemblymember Irwin for their leadership on this legislation,” said Senator Josh Becker (D-Peninsula).

“Consumers want to recycle, but we need to make it easier for them to do the right thing,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine). “By making recycling free and convenient, rechargeable Li-ion batteries will only be delivering energy to our products and no longer a toxic threat to our environment.”

“It is estimated that 65% of California’s waste fires have been sparked by lithium ion batteries. Despite the fact that it is already illegal to dispose of these batteries, their increased use has led to a corresponding increase in their improper disposal, resulting in fires to waste collection vehicles and facilities. California needs to address the issue head on. That is why I am proud to join Senator Newman and Assemblymember Irwin as a coauthor of the Responsible Battery Recycling Act which will establish a long overdue battery collection and recycling program,” said Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera).

To schedule an interview with Senator Newman, contact Lizzie Cootsona at 916.651.4029 and to schedule an interview with Assemblymember Irwin, contact Joel Price at 916.319.2144.


State Senator Josh Newman represents the 29th Senate District, which is comprised of portions of Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County. The 29th District includes all or parts of the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Chino Hills, City of Industry, Cypress, Diamond Bar, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia, Rowland Heights, Stanton, Walnut, West Covina and Yorba Linda. Senator Newman is a former United States Army officer, businessperson, and veterans’ advocate, and lives in Fullerton with his wife and daughter.