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 >
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.
The Ministry for Environment (MFE) in New Zealand released a discussion paper earlier this year that proposed listing four product groups as priorities under the Waste Minimisation Act. One of these groups is electrical and electronic waste (‘E-waste’). A preliminary report on E-waste product stewardship has been published to encourage and facilitate stakeholder feedback. One of the questions raised by consultants is the proposed scope of a scheme, including whether or not it should include batteries.
Auckland Council has also investigated options for handheld battery recycling. In response to strong interest from residents, in 2012 the Council established a battery working group with industry, government and community representatives. Market research undertaken for the working group confirmed consumer interest, for example:
– the most common method of disposing of batteries was through the kerbside rubbish collection system (77%), but 22% stockpiled them at home
– despite this, 60% of respondents felt that batteries should be sent to a specialist battery recycling service for disposal
– 81% would be more likely to purchase battery brands that took back their batteries for free recycling, and 86% would be more likely to buy batteries from retailers that took back used batteries that were purchased from them.
Alkaline batteries that are currently collected in New Zealand, e.g. through hazardous waste collections, are encased in concrete and disposed to landfill. All other batteries are exported for recycling, including used lead acid batteries. This follows the closure of the Exide Technologies recycling facility in Petone 2012.
A study in 2013 by Kidsafe ACT investigated why injury outcomes from button battery ingestion differ between countries. Injury outcomes in Germany and Austria are substantially less severe than those experienced in Australia and the USA. The research attributed this to a range of factors, including:
– a high level of awareness at a family, community and health system level in Germany and Austria, where batteries are recognised and treated as dangerous
– button batteries have been recognised as a major environmental issue for over 25 years in Germany as a result of concerns about older mercury batteries. As a consequence laws are in place requiring collection and recycling, and there is an extensive collection network in retail stores etc.
– parents are more likely to take their children to Emergency in Germany rather than a local doctor, whereas parents in Australia are encouraged to go to their GP first.
More information on button battery safety is available from www.TheBatteryControlled.com.au.
ABRI promotes safe recycling of all used batteries and is exploring ways it can support future Kidsafe awareness campaigns.
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