The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) has been formed by a group of battery manufacturers, recyclers, retailers, government bodies and environment groups to promote the collection, recycling and safe disposal of all batteries.
ABRI’s role includes research, advocacy, education and stakeholder engagement to promote safe and environmentally responsible recycling of all batteries at end of life….More >
ABRI CEO Helen Lewis gave a presentation to the WasteMINZ Round-up in Auckland (23-24 May), which had a strong focus on product stewardship. Many attendees expressed strong interest in battery recycling and the potential for cross-Tasman collaboration. Rechargeable batteries from mobile phones and e-waste are collected through voluntary product stewardship schemes. Several municipalities are collecting, or planning to collect household batteries, driven by demand from residents.
Mike Mendonca from the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) reported on the outcomes of their consultation on ‘priority products’ under the Waste Minimisation Act. On 21 May 2014, the Government had released a discussion document asking whether to intervene to improve the management of four product waste streams: electronic and electrical equipment; tyres; agrichemicals and farm plastics; and refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases. In submissions to MFE (summarised here), batteries were identified by many stakeholders as one of the additional products that they would like to see addressed. A submission from the Association for Promotion of Electric Vehicles and Auto Stewardship New Zealand raised the issue of end of life automotive batteries, including both existing and future technologies, and noted that ‘anxiety around the end-of-life management of the batteries is a barrier to the uptake of electric vehicles’.
There are a number of important changes to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) that apply to the transport of used batteries.
A new special provision (377) states that:
‘Lithium ion and lithium metal cells and batteries and equipment containing such cells and batteries transported for disposal or recycling, either packed together with or packed without non-lithium batteries, may be packaged in accordance with packing instruction P909 of 22.214.171.124.’
Packing instruction P909 states that:
‘Cells and batteries shall be designed or packed to prevent short circuits. Protection … includes, but is not limited to:
– individual protection of the battery terminal
– inner packaging to prevent contact between cells and batteries
– batteries with recessed terminals designed to protect against short circuits, or
– the use of a non-conductive and non-combustible cushioning material to fill empty space between the cells or batteries in the packaging.’
In addition, ‘Cells and batteries need to be secured within the outer packaging to prevent excessive movement during transport (e.g. by using a non-combustible and non-conductive cushioning material or through the use of a tightly closed plastic bag)’.
The IMDG can be purchased here.
The Australian Department of Environment has commissioned GHD to undertake a comparative analysis of how hazardous wastes are regulated under both transport (mostly dangerous goods) and environmental regulations. The project will identify and recommend on opportunities to achieve greater harmonisation of hazardous waste and transport regulations at national and jurisdictional levels.
An Issues Paper was released for initial consultation in March 2015. ABRI’s submission recommended:
– that used lead acid batteries be exempted from hazardous waste tracking requirements
– that new waste codes be introduced for used batteries.
ABRI’s submission can be downloaded here.
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