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 supports the principle of product stewardship: that responsibility for environmental management of products, including their recovery at end of life, is shared by organisations at every stage of the product life cycle…More >
ABRI collaborated with the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) to present a panel on battery stewardship at the recent All Energy 2014 conference. The aim was to provide attendees with an overview of battery recycling opportunities and challenges, particularly for energy storage batteries.
The panel included a presentation by Nathan Pickering from Century Yuasa Batteries (CYB), on their recycling program for lead acid batteries. The motivation for recycling included rising volatility in global lead prices, which created uncertainty in local production costs and therefore retail pricing. The availability of large volume recycling facilities and rising lead prices made recycling a viable option. Recycling also provided a marketing opportunity for CYB through the ability to link new battery sales with an end of life solution.
CYB utilise existing relationships with resellers to collect used lead acid batteries, and their network of recycling centres has grown from 300 in 2008 to over 1200 in 2014. Recycling is offered to large and small customers across all divisions – automotive, motive and standby. Fundraising events are available to community clubs and organisations.
Challenges for recycling include:
– the heavy weight of batteries and high fuel costs make collection from remote areas expensive
– the need to change attitudes, with some people still thinking its OK to bury or throw used batteries into the bin
– more uniform laws for transport and storage between the states would improve efficiencies
– the need to develop large scale recycling solutions for lithium ion batteries.
For more information contact Nathan Pickering on firstname.lastname@example.org. To find a CYB recycling centre click here.
Momentum is building in the United States for battery stewardship legislation, which is being negotiated on a state-by-state basis. This was the message from a webinar on 6 November organised by the US-based Product Stewardship Institute in collaboration with the Global Product Stewardship Council. The webinar was sponsored by ABRI, TES-AMM Australia, the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, and Canon.
The first speaker was Jennifer Holliday, Compliance Program and Product Stewardship Manager with Chittenden County Solid Waste District (Vermont), who outlined the requirements of Vermont’s Primary Battery Law (Act 139). In January 2014 Vermont become the first state in the US to introduce a recycling law for single-use handheld batteries. Manufacturers are required to participate in an approved ‘stewardship plan’ that provides free collection and recycling of primary batteries for consumers. One of the challenges identified by Ms Holliday was the exclusion of batteries in products. This aspect of the legislation was opposed by some battery manufacturers, who argued that all batteries should be covered. The Vermont legislation can be downloaded here.
The second speaker was Marc Boolish, Director of Technology for Energizer and President of the Corporation for Battery Recycling (which represents primary battery manufacturers). CBR worked with other stakeholders to develop a model ‘all battery’ recycling bill, which is currently being considered in several states. The bill covers primary and rechargeable batteries including batteries sold within products. The industry’s position on battery stewardship is that it must be legislated to provide a level playing field. Other requirements are a net environmental benefit compared to disposal, an industry-led program, shared responsibility (including consumers), non-fragmented programs, and phased implementation to test/learn and modify the program as required. The model bill can be downloaded here. This will be modified in response to requirements and negotiations in each state.
Carl Smith, the CEO and President of Call2Recycle, then identified the three biggest challenges for battery recycling from his perspective:
– ensuring participation from all obligated parties (regardless of whether it is mandatory or voluntary, around 40% don’t participate)
– batteries are increasingly integrated in products, which means that they are disposed with the host product
– battery disposal policies are increasingly fragmented, increasing costs and reducing effectiveness.
Call2Recycle manages the voluntary recycling program for rechargeable batteries in North America and all battery collections in Canada.
The final speaker was Garth Hickle, Product Stewardship Team Leader for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Minnesota has had an extended producer responsibility requirement for rechargeable batteries since 1994, and is negotiating a bill to cover all batteries. Issues identified by Mr Hickle included defining the role of local government, compliance and enforcement, and establishing performance requirements (convenience versus collection rate).
More information on the webinar outcomes
Australians who were unable to participate in the webinar may view or download it for free. Please contact Helen Lewis at email@example.com for more information.
Integration of energy storage, including batteries at all levels, is driving transformational change in our energy networks, our renewable energy installations and in our transport infrastructure.
The Australian Energy Storage Alliance (AES Alliance) was recently launched to provide information and networking resources for the growing energy storage industry. Participation in the AES Alliance is free by joining at Subscriber or Contributor level, with Supporter level being available soon. To find out how to join, visit www.energystoragealliance.com.au or contact Mary Hendriks on 0414 484848.
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