By Robin Schneider, Executive Director
The Texas legislative session is officially over. Since tens of thousands of our supporters took the time to take action in support of HB 1874, the battery recycling bill, we wanted to provide an update.
The battery bill made a big splash at the State Capitol, and we secured 10 co-authors from both parties, including both very conservative Republicans and some very progressive Democrats.
The bill’s author Rep. Rodney Anderson (R – Grand Prairie) set up a battery recycling box in his office. Many Texans sent batteries with their letters in support of HB 1874 which could then be taken to Rep. Anderson’s office for recycling.
It had a great hearing and stakeholders were forced to seriously discuss the bill for the first time in Texas. We brought together city officials from Ft. Worth, El Paso, Dallas, and Pearland who would like a more sustainable battery recycling program in their cities, the Texas chapter of the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association, Call2Recycle, the largest battery collector for recycling, and others to support HB 1874.
In the end, a couple key corporate lobbies sadly decided not to work with the bill’s author to find workable solutions so that all Texans could have convenient access to recycle their batteries. They focused their effort on preventing our bill from being voted out of the Environmental Regulation Committee, and unfortunately managed to get the Chair of the Committee on their side.
When it became clear that the Chair, Joe Pickett, a Democrat from El Paso, refused to bring HB 1874 up for a vote, we started generating letters to him from our supporters at the door from all over the state, including his district. He was invited to tour a household hazardous waste facility in El Paso to show the impact and need for battery recycling – he refused.The Texas Democratic Party platform supports producer responsibility recycling laws just like HB 1874 – even so, Rep. Joe Pickett killed the bill single-handedly.
We are proud of the bi-partisan support for the battery recycling bill – a direct result of the outstanding volume of correspondence and visible public support for better recycling in Texas to keep toxic materials and valuable metals out of landfills.
The inventor of the lithium ion battery wrote an opinion piece for the Austin American Statesman in support of HB 1874. Dr. John Goodenough wrote, “Texas has led on developing these products; now it’s time that we lead on recycling them when they are spent.” We agree: the bill may not have passed this year, but it makes sense in the long run.
We plan to work with stakeholders in the interim, and Rep. Rodney Anderson – the bill author – has committed to keep working on it. We hope we can recycle HB 1874 into a successful piece of legislation in 2019.
Thanks for everything you have done to support our Battery Takeback campaign.
Tags: recycling and zero waste