NW Whole Foods stores sign on for Bettery battery-exchange pilot
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Whole Foods will partner with rechargeable battery startup Bettery Inc. during its pilot phase.
Bettery Inc., the Wieden + Kennedy-backed startup aiming to improve the market for rechargeable batteries, has signed on five Northwest Whole Foods Market stores for its pilot phase.
Three stores in Oregon and two in Seattle will host Bettery kiosks starting after January 1 when Bettery tests its primary business thesis: That it can convince consumers to bring rechargeable batteries back to a kiosk and keep more consumer batteries out of landfills.
Charlie Kawasaki, Bettery's founder and CEO, said he's working to add more retailers for the pilot program.
Whole Foods' Dena Hastings — her official title is Regional Green Mission Specialist — said the specific participating stores will be announced once the contracts are in place.
"We're excited about it," Hastings said, adding that Whole Foods officials have been talking to Kawasaki and the Bettery team for the past year.
Portland-based Bettery's kiosks will be designed to sell rechargeable batteries and accept dead batteries for recharging, aiming to entice consumers to adopt rechargeable battery technology. The kiosks will also accept traditional household batteries for recycling.
Hastings expressed optimism the concept will work.
"It's not extra money, it's not an extra stop," she said. "You're going to the grocery store anyway, this becomes just another thing on that list."
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