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Backhaul Alaska removes 100,000 pounds of lead acid batteries from remote Alaskan communities

A group of people accept a cheque in Alaska in front of some used lead acid batteries
During a recent training session for Backhaul Alaska volunteers in Anchorage, Alaska, Responsible Battery Coalition’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.

The Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC) has applauded Backhaul Alaska's successful 2021 program, which retrieved and recycled approximately 100,000 pounds of spent lead acid batteries from more than three dozen 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.

"RBC is proud to partner with Backhaul Alaska in making progress towards creating a more circular economy for vehicle batteries, and by doing so helping to protect human health and the environment in these remote communities," says Steve Christensen, executive director of the Responsible Battery Coalition. "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."

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, the Responsible Battery Coalition also paid $20,558 back to the Backhaul program for the spent battery "cores," which are 99 percent recyclable and contain valuable materials. This funding will be used to help support new volunteer training sessions, purchase equipment, and reduce operational costs.

"RBC has been one of our strongest partners since joining with us in 2018," says 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 40 remote communities in 2022 to approximately 180 communities by 2030."

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. The Responsible Battery Coalition's support of Backhaul Alaska is part of its nationwide battery recovery campaign, the 2 Million Battery Challenge.

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