A discussion paper on ‘Options and approaches for the proposed Handheld Battery Product Stewardship Scheme’ has been released by the Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) for stakeholder feedback. ABRI has been closely involved in the development of the proposal through its membership of BIWG. Submissions can be provided to Kylie Hughes, (Kylie.Hughes@ehp.qld.gov.au) at the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection until 31 March.
Australian, state and territory governments have made product stewardship for handheld batteries a national priority and dedicated resources to the development of an appropriate scheme, including project funding and the establishment of the BIWG, with bipartisan support.
The discussion paper outlines a proposed voluntary, industry-led national battery product stewardship scheme for Australia, along with a number of options for its operation. The scheme would apply to all handheld batteries less than 5 kg, except for ’embedded’ (hard-to-remove) batteries.
Russ Martin, Chair of the BIWG and CEO of the Global Product Stewardship Council, notes that the proposed scheme has a number of benefits. “As a voluntary, industry-led national approach, the proposed Scheme is open to a broad range of stakeholders and has the benefits of simplicity of design, reduced barriers to participation and ease of understanding. The proposed Scheme would provide more immediate action with lower costs and greater certainty compared to immediate pursuit of a co-regulatory approach.”
“A voluntary approach also provides the flexibility to modify and improve the Scheme in order to improve performance and reduce costs, especially in the first few years of implementation” said Mr Martin.
It is envisaged that importers of handheld batteries would have primary financial responsibility for funding the Scheme, although it is recognised that other parties may make additional direct or in-kind contributions. Other parties may have roles as stewards, for example, by providing collection facilities at point-of-sale or at local council waste management sites.
Download the paper here.