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Projects Updates for Battery Recycling

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  1. Redwood Materials: Jen, Daphne, and Amy meet with Sophie Boel

    Attendance: Jen Fraterrigo, Sophie Boel, Daphne Hulse, Amy Fruehling

    Sophie Boel introduction: been with Redwood 2+ years, managing construction and engineering team, moved to external affairs (consumer recycling, outreach and education programs). Taking over the university partnerships piece from Seema. Two pieces to look at together:

    • Consumer education, branding materials, and how-to for safe collection and mailing.
    • Research - existing program to bolster with data, or bring about together.

    Recalling our first conversation with Redwood Materials:

    • What is redwood looking for?

    • How can the university offer collaborative experiences with Redwood? Research, battery collection drives.

      • Jen forwarded Sophie the documents she had provided Seema as far as research opportunities go.

    Redwood's experience with collection:

    • 40-50 Audi and Volkswagen dealerships have collection bins - regularly collected and shipped back to Redwood.
    • International Rotary Clubs host collection events throughout the country.

    Daphne's research on where batteries are sourced from and where they end up across campus. Daphne could only speak to batteries that are procured with university money. There is not a gauge on what the community does with batteries and what their needs are.

    • DRS collects Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd), Nickel Metal Hydride (NMH), Lithium (Li) Ion & Polymer (LiPo), and Silver Oxide (AgO) batteries for recycling. Daphne and Jen don't know the name of the recycling vendor, but they will find out. Sophie says there is a chance that the vendor already works with Redwood Materials, we just have to find out. Rechargeable batteries that are part of a device may get removed, and the device sent to someone like Redwood Materials to find recycling outlets for the device materials, too.

    What could Redwood provide support on if the university would undertake something with them?

    • Bring Seema back into the conversation side (she is involved with business development support).

    Has Redwood done many events with universities? No, they haven’t done many events with universities:

    • University Nevada - Reno, as this is located close to their HQ.
    • Have done events in collaboration with International Rotary Clubs:

      • Environmental & Sustainability Action Group (ES-RAG) - made collection events a part of their piece on sustainability

      • 50-100 collection events - active consumer engagement pieces

      • Earth Day events

    • For events, Redwood can send a Redwood employee - if there is a lot overlapping in terms of time of year (especially Earth Day or Month), some of the rotary district governors act on behalf of Redwood go to an event to staff and educate.

    • Reach out to Urbana and Champaign counterparts - they hold an annual event for Illinois residents for electronics recycling. Maybe there is a need for more than just once a year? And if they combine forces with the university and Redwood, we would have more resources and support to go around.

      • It will be good to hear what the cities think, as their population will likely be the main source for the waste. Students don't often have these kinds of devices and batteries laying around.

    • Any money that can be reinvested to the program? The university tries to find ways to reinvest when possible.

      • Sophie to talk to Seema about this


  2. WTS hosts collection site for lead acid battery recycling

    Neither the Waste Transfer Station nor Interstate Batteries (vendor) tracks or weighs the lead acid batteries that are picked up from the cage at the Waste Transfer Station. Rather, the battery unit sold is. The new battery is sold without a core charge, and then the old battery is picked up at a later time. The number of battery units sold is tracked (from 1501 S Oak Street), so this is our best metric for tracking lead acid battery recycling.

    Attachment only covers 2022-2023 sales, a request has been sent for historical data.

    FYI - lead acid batteries (often used in the automobile context) are some of the most easily recycled and rechargeable batteries out there!

  3. DRS tracks the batteries that they give to WTS, that they recycle, and that they trash

    From: Lee, Morris <>
    Sent: Friday, August 18, 2023 11:00 AM
    To: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Cc: Hill, Landon E <>
    Subject: RE: DRS battery disposal


    Good Morning Daphne,


    Attached is a report for the batteries handled by the DRS Waste Group.


    If you have any data related questions, please let me know (I will be on vacation next week). Landon would be able to answer the operational questions.


    Thanks, Morris



    Division of Research Safety
    Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    102 Environmental Health and Safety Building
    101 S. Gregory St. | M/C 225
    Urbana, Illinois 61801
    217.300.4563 |

    Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act any written communication to or from university employees regarding university business is a public record and may be subject to public disclosure. 

  4. Lead acid battery recycling, Surplus electronic battery recycling

    From: Hulse, Daphne Lauren
    Sent: Monday, August 14, 2023 9:37 AM
    To: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>
    Subject: RE: DRS battery disposal


    Hi Jen,


    Follow up - the Waste Transfer Station does not track how many lead acid batteries are collected across campus and picked up by Interstate, so I have reached out to Interstate to see if pickups are something they track.


    Thank you!



    Daphne Hulse (she/her)
    Zero Waste Coordinator
    Facilities & Services | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    +1 (217) 333-7550 |

    Please consider the environment before printing an email. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act any written communication to or from university employees regarding university business is a public record and may be subject to public disclosure.




    From: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>
    Sent: Friday, August 11, 2023 10:24 AM
    To: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Subject: RE: DRS battery disposal


    In other words, we generate revenue from recycling the lead acid batteries and then use that revenue to purchase new lead acid batteries. Is that correct? That’s great!


    Thanks for following up with Surplus. Once I hear back from you I will reach out to Seema.




    From: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Sent: Friday, August 11, 2023 10:03 AM
    To: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>
    Subject: RE: DRS battery disposal


    More info on the batteries: the lead acid batteries that are taken to the cage on the west side of WTS are then given back to Interstate Batteries as a refundable core deposit. This is often mandated by state legislature. Lead acid batteries are used in vehicles (so our Garage is a big producer of these), and the cost of purchasing new lead acid batteries covers the cost of returning them for recycling. So these are one type of battery currently successfully being recycled. I’ll see if WTS keeps a record of weight on this, to know how much we are recycling.

    I will follow up with Surplus to see if they have any idea how many electronics batteries they are sending to Secure Processors, the vendor that accepts these kinds of batteries for recycling.


    Thank you,

  5. DRS process for battery disposal: trash, recycling, waste transfer lead acid batteries

    From: Hill, Landon E <>
    Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2023 4:20 PM
    To: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Cc: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>; Varney, Pete <>
    Subject: RE: DRS battery disposal




    Is there something specific that you are looking for?


    DRS picks up most anything chemical that is requested for disposal through the campus waste management app:


    All alkaline batteries are trashed.


    Rechargeable batteries are recycled.


    Lead acid batteries are taken to the cage on the west side of the Waste Transfer Station.



  6. Surplus electronic battery recycling

    From: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Sent: Wednesday, July 5, 2023 3:19 PM
    To: Weaver, Jeff <>
    Subject: Surplus and waste memo / batteries


    Hi Jeff,


    On a different note, battery recycling is a topic that has come up several times recently. F&S does not have any comprehensive program at this point. DRS collects batteries from departments for disposal through their hazardous waste vendor, but they do not recycle the batteries. Regarding batteries from devices such as computers, laptops, cell phones, tablets, and other small devices, (devices that will not be redistributed out to departments for reuse) do you know how these are handled through the state? If they are recycled?


    [Surplus response] For the small batteries in those devices, we ship them to Secure Processors, the downstate State contracted electronics recycling vendor.  We don’t know how the vendor handles the batteries on their end after we ship them.


    Thank you,


    Daphne Hulse (she/her)
    Zero Waste Coordinator
    Facilities & Services | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    +1 (217) 333-7550 |

    Please consider the environment before printing an email. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act any written communication to or from university employees regarding university business is a public record and may be subject to public disclosure.

  7. Redwood Materials: Jen, Daphne, and Amy meet to follow up

    On June 26, 2023 Amy Fruehling, Jen Fraterrigo, and Daphne Hulse meet to follow up after initial contact with Redwood Materials

    • Amy is the connector so she can stay involved if need be, but batteries are not her expertise

    • Ask Stephanie Hess about DRS about battery disposal on campus is how much is recycled. See if departments have a need for this

    • Collection drives would be for students, primarily, for their personal items

      • Ask Goodwill about technology collected from Dump and Run - was it a good outlet for students?

    • IT would be more surplus-oriented

    • Could payment be associated with batteries collected?

    • Would just have to try it out and see if it’s worth it - we won't entirely know what the demand will be for the service

    • ARC does battery recycling

      • Reach out about that

    • Collection sites must be supervised so nothing is mixed in

    • Housing or libraries as a place of disposal would be most ideal. Having it available rather than waiting on a collection drive once or twice a year, is Amy's thought

    • Seema will be sending over material about how they have done collection drives in other places, so we know how it might run

    • Electrical and computer engineering department

      • Specialization in batteries

      • Looking at how to create batteries with a longer life span

      • Do they have a program? Sell to students?

      • A way for iSEE to integrate campus sustainability and research, so Jen will take the first step here

    • Redwood contact is an alum, co-founder is tied to Tesla - Amy notes the significance of this

      • Feels like there could be even more than just collecting batteries

    • Opening up redwood materials collection to the community - because the spring electronics event is once a year in the spring, so sparse opportunity for the community/county

  8. DRS uses hazardous waste vendor for battery disposal

    From: Hess, Stephanie Tumidajski <>
    Sent: Monday, June 26, 2023 4:02 PM
    To: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Cc: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>; Hill, Landon E <>
    Subject: RE: DRS battery disposal


    Hi Daphne,


    A good area to look into. I remember there being battery recycling a long time ago and then was told it was no longer is a thing.

    We do not recycle batteries that come through DRS. Those are disposed of using our hazardous waste vendor. I’ve copied the regulated waste compliance manager on this email. He can probably give you an idea about the volume of batteries that come through our waste facility and answer your specific questions.




    From: Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Sent: Monday, June 26, 2023 3:54 PM
    To: Hess, Stephanie Tumidajski <>
    Cc: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>
    Subject: DRS battery disposal


    Hi Stephanie,


    A recurring topic that’s come up in sustainability conversations on campus has been about batteries, and we are working to assess what the needs are for this type of specialized recycling and for whom (campus property, personal, etc). In the past several years, battery recycling has been decentralized under departmental programs through companies like Battery Solutions and Call2Recycle for single-use and rechargeable batteries. I also understand that DRS disposes of departments’ unwanted batteries – I am curious, is this a program that is widely used by campus? Do most of the batteries collected under DRS get recycled?


    Thank you,


    Daphne Hulse (she/her)
    Zero Waste Coordinator
    Facilities & Services | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    +1 (217) 333-7550 |

    Please consider the environment before printing an email. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act any written communication to or from university employees regarding university business is a public record and may be subject to public disclosure.

  9. Redwood Materials: Daphne and Shreya meet with Seema Nilakhe for an introduction

    On June 21, 2023 Daphne Hulse and Shreya Mahajan met with Seema Nilakhe to discuss Redwood Materials and opportunity for collaboration.

    • Introductions

      • Seema Nilakhe, originally from Chicago suburbs, attended U of I

      • Amy Fruehling was career counselor for Seema during her undergraduate years

      • Dabbling in environmental initiatives

      • Worked at Amazon for supply chain

      • Worked at Tesla

        • Infrastructure projects in North America

      • Wanted to work at start up so went to Redwood Materials

        • Lithium ion batteries

        • Based out of Reno, Nevada

        • Consumer partnerships is Seema’s role

      • Don’t take

        • Lead acid

        • Cadmium

        • Car batteries

    • Daphne notes that the batteries Redwood would be interested in would likely come from university property, which is handled by CMS/Surplus/OBFS

      • Seema can assist with looking into this process

    • Redwood process:

      • Pickup batteries with large OEMs (large car companies that make EVs)

      • Redwood picks up scrap

      • Redwood partners with Call2Recycle

      • Typically you have to pay a fee for Call2Recycle for their services (U of I may have had the service for free?)

      • Collections would be the biggest benefit for us:

        • Cell phones, laptops, smaller devices are high in cobalt and nickel and critical elements that are part of the battery

        • Larger devices would need to be checked for logistics and chemistry

        • Pricing is based on gross weight

        • Collections - don’t provide packaging but suppliers have the drums, crates, or collection mechanism to do that

        • DOT shipping guidelines (Redwood has that and can give us a sample) we have to be in compliance

        • Under 60 watt hours

        • Engineering may have drums that we could use to ship the batteries

        • Gaylords work too

      • Differences between primary and secondary batteries

        • Primaries - non-rechargables

          • Watch batteries

          • Typically lithium ion

      • Have partners which take all of the excess materials that aren’t batteries

        • Secondary - rechargeable

    Next steps:

    • CMS/Surplus - ask if they already recycle batteries, or need an outlet for it

    • Check inventory on drums and gaylords/shipping materials - Seema will send DOT guidelines

    • Event with marketing/public relations

    • Bin in the Union - how do you keep people from randomly throw items in there that are not batteries? Must be supervised

    • Stick to call2recycle for AA AAA alkaline

  10. Redwood Materials: F&S, iSEE, and ACES introduced to GIES alum Seema Nilakhe to discuss battery recycling opportunities

    RE: Campus Sustainability - Redwood Materials



    Great – thank you all for your thoughts and connections.  I’m moving Madhu and Bob to bcc and can loop them back in as needed.


    Jennifer, Morgan and Daphne, can you please share your interest in joining a call along with your availability for the last 2 weeks in June?  I’ll get a call scheduled with Seema so that we can explore a possible collaboration.





    Amy Fruehling, MBA

    Senior Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations

    College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

    1301 W. Gregory Dr.

    Urbana, IL  61801




    From: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>
    Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2023 12:06 PM
    To: Schooley, Robert Lee <>; Khanna, Madhu <>; Fruehling, Amy <>
    Cc: White, Morgan <>; Hulse, Daphne Lauren <>
    Subject: RE: Campus Sustainability - Redwood Materials




    Bob is correct that campus no longer has a battery recycling program. I would be interested in following up about how we might restart the program. Colleagues in Facilities & Services, including Morgan White and Daphne Hulse, Zero Waste Coordinator, might also be interested in joining a call.


    On a related note, the alum may be interested in an initiative to recycle components of EV batteries (among other types) for reuse in Europe that leverages a partnership between industry and academia.





    Jennifer Fraterrigo (she/her)

    iSEE Associate Director for Campus Sustainability and
    Professor of Landscape and Ecosystem Ecology
    Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

    University of Illinois

    W-423 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave.

    Urbana, IL 61801
    ph 217-333-9428



    From: Schooley, Robert Lee <>
    Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2023 9:27 AM
    To: Khanna, Madhu <>; Fruehling, Amy <>
    Cc: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>; White, Morgan <>
    Subject: RE: Campus Sustainability - Redwood Materials


    Hi Amy,


    Campus had a battery recycling program but it was discontinued in 2015 due to lack of funding.  It is now left to units to fund recycling programs if they want.


    I also thought of Jen Fraterrigo for discussing potential partnerships on campus.






    Robert L. Schooley
    Professor and Head
    Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

    College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    W-503 Turner Hall | M/C 047
    Urbana, IL 61801
    217.244.2729 |




    From: Khanna, Madhu <>
    Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 5:24 PM
    To: Fruehling, Amy <>; Schooley, Robert Lee <>
    Cc: Fraterrigo, Jennifer M <>; White, Morgan <>
    Subject: RE: Campus Sustainability - Redwood Materials


    Hi Amy


    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. This sounds interesting.  Would you know what kind of batteries she is interested in building a recycling program for?

    I am ccing Jen Fraterrigo and Morgan White to let us know if we have any current program for this and get their thoughts on potential opportunities for battery recycling on our campus.  






    Madhu Khanna

    Pronouns: she, her

    Alvin H. Baum Family Chair & Director, Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment

    ACES Distinguished Professor in Environmental Economics

    Co-Director, Center for Economics of Sustainability

    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


    Office: 1101 W. Peabody, Suite 336, M/C  635

    Urbana IL 61801


    email:; phone: 217-333-5176; fax: 217-333-5538





    From: Fruehling, Amy <>
    Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 5:13 PM
    To: Khanna, Madhu <>; Schooley, Robert Lee <>
    Subject: RE: Campus Sustainability - Redwood Materials


    Madhu and Bob,

    Checking in to bring this request to the top of your email again.  I’d like to get back to our alum contact at Redwood Materials this week. Did you have any thoughts on her request below, or are there others you’d suggest that I reach out to?





    From: Bollero, German A <>
    Sent: Friday, May 26, 2023 3:18 PM
    To: Fruehling, Amy <>
    Subject: Re: Campus Sustainability - Redwood Materials


    I will let Madhu and Bob to respond to this.




    From: "Fruehling, Amy" <>
    Date: Monday, May 22, 2023 at 2:54 PM
    To: German Bollero <>, "Khanna, Madhu" <>, "Schooley, Robert Lee" <>
    Subject: Campus Sustainability - Redwood Materials


    Hi Bob, German and Madhu,


    Redwood Materials, founded by Tesla co-founder, JB Straubel, is a renewable energy company that focuses on making batteries sustainable and affordable by localizing the battery supply chain and producing components in the US from recycled batteries. A fantastic Gies alumni and former student that I worked with, reached out and is interested in creating a battery collection program at Illinois.  She referenced the campus-wide recycling program with Coca Cola.  While I think this could fit nicely into the Campus Sustainability program, I think that we could discuss possible research, project or funding collaborations that would enhance a program of this nature and support an academic partnership.


    I am reaching out to you given your roles in the college and campus sustainability initiatives.  Are there any programs within iSEE, NRES or that campus is working on that might align well?  Are there others within your units that you recommend that I pose this question to?  I’d like to have a follow up call with the alum, Seema Nilakhe, to share some options, and then can bring others into the conversation to hopefully begin talking about how to move forward.


    Thank you for your thoughts,



    Amy Fruehling, MBA

    Sr. Director of Corporate Relations




  11. Call2Recycle FY2020 Report: Collection of Batteries and Cell Phones

  12. Campus Committee on Recycling Batteries' Proposal to Go to PWR SWATeam in September 2018

    Associated Project(s): 

    During the 2017-2018 academic year, interested faculty members formed the Campus Committee on Recycling Batteries. Members included Clara Bosak-Schroeder, Ömer Özgür Çapraz, Marcus Smith, and Robert McKim. They developed a draft proposal for a pilot battery recycling program that would be coordinated across the campus and eventually become self-sustaining. They sought input from Joy Scrogum, Morgan White, and Marya Ryan. Robert McKim joined the PWR SWATeam starting with the fall 2018 semester. He will take the proposal to the team at its September 2018 meeting so that the team can take ownership of the proposal and help move it forward.

  13. PWR SWATeam Meeting - 2/5/18

    The PWR SWATeam had their first meeting of the semester, where they discussed several updates related to purchasing, waste, and recycling. The Team discussed concerns about recycling bins on the Main Quad, persistent issues with the purchasing of recycled paper on campus, challenges with a centralized battery recycling program, and the formal adoption of EPEAT standards for electronics on campus. The SWATeam also discussed and provided feedback on a formal recommendation for the expansion of SmartWay to other campus units.

    Attached Files: 
  14. PWR SWATeam Meeting - 11/30/17

    The PWR SWATeam reviewed the progress made over the course of the semester on various projects and discussed next steps for each. These projects included battery recycling, the rearrangement of outdoor trash and recycling bins, guidelines for the optimal arrangement of indoor bins, expanding SmartWay, and encouraging the use of EPEAT certified products.

    Attached Files: 
  15. Battery Recycling Instructions and Locations Updated

    Battery recycling instructions were updated to indicate that "University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign" should be included in address information provided to Call2Recycle. The inclusion will allow for reporting of volumes of batteries recycled through the program across the campus.

    Battery recycling locations were updated.

  16. Follow up on "parent ID" question

    Associated Project(s): 

    The "parent" ID number for Call2Recycle should no longer be used. It was used for tracking payment as well as shipping addresses, and continued use could result in battery collection boxes being shipped to the wrong location on campus. Unfortunately, dropping the ID number means that we won't be able to obtain centralized reports of volumes of recycled batteries.

  17. Battery recycling participation instructions updated in iCAP; F&S page updates pending

    Instructions for units that want to provide battery recycling have been updated on the appropriate iCAP Portal pages, with a detail regarding the provision of a "parent ID number" to Call2Recycle still pending. Once that detail has been confirmed, iCAP Portal instructions will be updated again if necessary, and instructions on the F&S page will be updated.