Power tool battery pilot
A pilot project to collect and recycle used power tool batteries commenced on 6 September 2015. Batteries are being collected through selected Bunnings, Masters and TradeTools stores in the Brisbane City Council area.
The project is being managed by ABRI with funding from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage. The team responsible for collection, recycling and communication includes Infoactiv Group, MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd and Planet Ark.
The aim of the pilot is to investigate the feasibility of collecting power tool batteries through hardware stores. It will provide valuable information on consumer willingness to participate, costs of collection and recycling, the types of batteries available for collection by weight, chemistry and brand, and other operational issues.
Participating stores are listed on the Power Tool Batteryback site at RecyclingNearYou.
Consumer feedback is being sought via a short survey on Planet Ark’s website. Survey participants have the opportunity to win one of ten Bosch three piece 10.8V kits with tool bag, valued at $199 each (terms and conditions apply).
All of this information will inform industry-government negotiations on a national battery stewardship program for handheld batteries.
More than 3 million used power tool batteries (around 2,010 tonnes) reached the end of their life in 2012-13. The recycling rate for these batteries is not known, but is likely to be very low. The estimated recycling rate for all handheld batteries (i.e. batteries weighing less than 5kg) is around 3%.
Many power tool batteries are nickel cadmium (NiCd), which are amongst the most hazardous batteries in the waste stream. This is due to the presence of cadmium, which is toxic and a known carcinogen. Each battery contains around 18% cadmium, which means that up to 360 tonne of cadmium from used power tool batteries is currently going to landfill each year. The power tool industry is shifting rapidly to lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, driven by performance benefits and a ban on NiCd batteries in Europe.