Handheld battery regulations
Disclaimer: The information provided here is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only. Organisations must do their own research to understand their legal obligations and to ensure that they are compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. ABRI does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of reliance on this information.
Battery take-back and recycling is not currently regulated in Australia. ABRI is working with industry and government stakeholders to design a voluntary or co-regulatory stewardship program for handheld batteries. Read more here.
STORAGE OF HAZARDOUS WASTES
All jurisdictions have environmental regulations that place a general duty of care on individuals to protect land, groundwater and the environment (air). Used batteries need to be carefully managed to avoid any pollution, for example by storing them under cover and in a bunded area. In some jurisdictions the storage of used batteries requires an EPA licence unless the quantity being stored is below a certain threshold.
TRANSPORT OF HAZARDOUS WASTES
A waste transport licence and a waste transport certificate are required for intrastate transport of used batteries in some jurisdictions. Contact your local environmental authority for more information.
Interstate transport of used batteries is governed by a national agreement – the National Environment Protection (Movement of Controlled Waste Between States and Territories) Measure – and administered by state government agencies. The interstate transport of used batteries requires (for each load of batteries):
• a consignment authorisation from the environmental protection agency in the destination state or territory
• a waste transport certificate from the agency in the originating state or territory and this must accompany the batteries in transit
• a permit/licence for the vehicle transporting the batteries.
The export of used batteries is regulated by the Australian Government under the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1989, which meets Australia’s obligations under the Basel Convention. All used batteries, including alkaline batteries, are classified by the Government as hazardous and therefore require an export licence. More information is available from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
TRANSPORT OF DANGEROUS GOODS BY ROAD AND RAIL
Certain types of batteries are classified as Dangerous Goods under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code), e.g.:
– UN No. 2794, Class 8 (lead acid batteries)
– UN No. 3090, Class 9 (Lithium metal batteries)
– UN No. 3480, Class 9 (Lithium ion batteries).
The ADG Code requires all dangerous goods, including certain batteries, to be carried in a secure, safe and environmentally controlled manner. The carrier has the right to refuse carriage if dangerous goods are not packed in accordance with the regulations. There is a special provision (377) and packaging instruction (P909) for ‘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…’
A load of batteries up to 1,000 kg is less than a ‘placard load’ and would require a DG transport document to be carried. There is also a general requirement in the legislation that persons involved in the transport of dangerous goods (including consigning, loading, transporting etc.) receive ‘appropriate instruction and training, or supervision’.
A load of batteries >1,000 kg is a ‘placard load’ and a number of additional DG transport requirements must be complied with. These include placarding of the vehicle, emergency information, safety equipment, stowage and restraint provisions etc.
TRANSPORT OF DANGEROUS GOODS BY SEA
The Dangerous Goods exemption does not cover the transport of batteries by sea. Packaging for sea freight must comply with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. More information is available from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
STORAGE AND HANDLING OF DANGEROUS GOODS
The general obligations for any organisation handling dangerous goods (including used batteries) are outlined in the National Code for Storage and Handling of Workplace Dangerous Goods. There are regulations and codes in each jurisdiction governing the storage and handling of dangerous goods.
To improve national harmonisation, the Model Work Health and Safety Act and Model Work, Health and Safety Regulations were approved by most State and Territory Ministers in 2011. State and territory laws are being amended in most jurisdictions to reflect the model law, with some necessary local amendments. Links to the government safety regulators in each state and territory can be found here.
The advice provided in the following Australian Standards should also be observed where relevant:
• AS 3780:1994 The storage and handling of corrosive substances
• AS/NZS 3833:2007 The storage and handling of mixed classes of dangerous goods, in packages and intermediate bulk containers
• AS/NZS 5377:2013 Collection, storage, transport and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment.
CONTACT DETAILS FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES (HAZARDOUS WASTE)
Office of Environment & Heritage (Hazardous Waste Regulation Unit)
Ph (02) 9995 5773
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (Permit & Licence Management)
1300 130 372 (option 4)
1800 372 842
Department of Environment and Conservation (Licensing and Permitting Branch)
(08) 6467 5000
Environment Protection Authority (Licensing & Regulatory Services Branch)
Environment Protection Authority (Waste Management Section)
Phone: 03 6233 6209
Department of Lands, Planning and Environment (Environmental Operations)
(08) 8924 4218
Australian Capital Territory
Environment Protection Authority
13 22 81