Did you know that most of the alkaline batteries produced today are sent to a local landfill when they are depleted? Eventually, these landfills will fail and thus the metals of the batteries will leach into the groundwater and can end up in rivers and the water we drink. In the United States, 150,000 tons of alkaline batteries are produced in a year. That means that every hour about one semi truckload of batteries reaches landfills.
Catalytic Innovations LLC, a cutting-edge recycling technology company is on a mission to reduce the waste generated from these batteries. The founder of the company, Scott Volner, combined his metallurgical engineering and fertilizer manufacturing experience to use discarded zinc from battery manufacturing waste to produce a liquid micronutrient fertilizer. Discarded batteries are now being used to fertilize vegetables, trees, and grass, helping to create a green new world. Catalytic Innovations has some of the best battery recycling technology in the nation, and they are able to recover over 90% of the materials from each battery!
Catalytic Innovations recognized the challenge around battery recycling, and that is why they started a recycling project, GoRecycle, which allows anyone a convenient, low-cost way to recycle their batteries and electronics. GoRecycle offers three different subscription options for mailable battery collection kits. The recycling box is DOT permitted to ensure the safe and simple shipping of mixed batteries and to fulfill all regulatory requirements.
We had an interview with the founder of Catalytic Innovations, Scott Volner, to learn more about Catalytic Innovations and their recycling project GoRecycle. Read the complete interview below and learn more!
Please introduce yourself and your brand!
My name is Scott Volner, I am the founder of Catalytic Innovations LLC, a recycling technology company located in the Missouri Ozarks.
What are you currently working on? Please share any links to your work!
We have developed a chemical process to recover pure zinc and manganese from spent alkaline batteries. To help us obtain batteries for our process we’ve launched a nationwide household and business battery collection program called GoRecycle!
What is your passion? How has your passion evolved throughout your life?
As a metallurgical engineer I began my career mining large tonnages of very low grade minerals and discovered that so many of our society’s wastes contain higher concentrations of metals than we mine–such as alkaline batteries! Tackling problems like this is the new frontier in supplying society with the raw materials it needs.
“Missouri company is the first to create an economically friendly recycling technique for household batteries. Impact on nation’s landfills will be huge!”
If you could solve one world problem right now, which would you choose and why?
The technologies for extracting metals from the ground have evolved over the last several thousand years–since the dawn of civilization. Recovering metals from industrial wastes is more complicated and will require new techniques to be developed. But we can’t wait hundreds of years to solve this looming crisis. Catalytic Innovations hopes to lead the way in this battle.
How do you stay optimistic, motivated and balanced?
I am lucky enough to have the most exciting job in the world. I love chemistry and metallurgy and figuring out better ways of doing things. If I was born 150 years ago I would have been a prospector looking for minerals.
Today I’m doing pretty much the same thing only now the orebody is the landfill in our own backyard.
What do you do when you’re not being “productive”? How do you recharge your batteries?
I love canoeing and camping in the Ozarks! The streams are crystal clear and the untouched scenery is unmatched.
What is the biggest challenge you’re currently facing? How can our community help you?
Our biggest challenge is finding a way to finance a 10-fold expansion this coming year. The other challenge is getting the word out that we actually have a solution for the alkaline battery waste problem! The best way to help us fund our new expansion is to subscribe to an annual battery recycling kit!
What tools, books, apps, podcasts or courses have helped you recently? Can you share the link to these resources?
“Recycling metals From Industrial Waste” short course offered by the Colorado School of Mines
If you have to share one tip with the @earthambition community based on your experience what would it be?
Surround yourself with people better than yourself!
To help impact-driven founders and freelancers on their journey, our team at Ola Impact have launched the Earth Ambition community, which offers online courses, events, groups and much more to learn & connect with likeminded people!
Join the Earth Ambition community here for free: earthambition.mn.co
Author: Oona Yletyinen