Batteries

Australian Report Shows Low Handheld Battery Recycling Rate

 

Batteries cr1Australia has today released a material flow analysis showing that handheld batteries are being recycled at a rate of only 2.7 per cent.

 

Approximately 400 million handheld batteries weighing 5kg or less were sold in Australia in 2012-13. For the same time period, 14,703 tonnes of batteries were disposed of and 403 tonnes were collected for recycling. Recovery rates for sealed lead acid, nickel cadmium, lithium primary and nickel metal hydride batteries were all in the 4.4 – 5.5 per cent range, while the recovery rate for alkaline and zinc carbon batteries was estimated at 1.6 per cent.

Batteries were collected through different channels including commercial collections (139 tonnes), retail store drop-off (111 tonnes), e-waste collections (45 tonnes), household hazardous waste collections (16 tonnes) and other recovery routes (91 tonnes). The rest (14,345 tonnes) were disposed to landfill.

On a unit number basis, 90 per cent of the batteries sales proposed to be subject to the Australian product stewardship scheme are single‐use batteries and 10% are rechargeable batteries. On a weight basis, 50% are single‐use and 50% are rechargeable.

Consumption trends indicate that lithium ion batteries will continue to grow as a proportion of all battery sales, increasing from around 24 per cent in 2013 to 33 per cent in 2020.

The report, ‘Study into market share and stocks and flows of handheld batteries in Australia’, was commissioned by the Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) on behalf of Australian governments to assist in developing a national battery product stewardship scheme for Australia. Environment Ministers agreed on the need to include end-of-life handheld batteries and waste paint in the Standing Council on Environment and Water’s work plan. The Australian Government identified handheld batteries as priority products potentially covered under Australia’s Product Stewardship Act in 2013 and reaffirmed their designation in 2014.

Sustainable Resource Use (SRU), in association with Perchards Ltd and Sagis Ltd, conducted the work to provide an evidence base to inform the work of the BIWG.

The report is available to GlobalPSC members in the Knowledge Base, under the Batteries tab.

 

Vermont Passes First Single-Use Battery Product Stewardship Program in U.S.

iStock_000011520570SmallOn 22 May 2014, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law Act 139, the first battery recycling law of its kind in the U.S.

Under Act 139, single-use battery manufacturers must plan, implement, and manage a statewide battery collection program by 1 January, 2016. Single-use / ‘Primary’ batteries under the Act include non-rechargeable batteries weighing two kilograms or less, including alkaline, carbon-zinc, and lithium metal batteries.

Battery manufacturers must submit a plan to the state by 1 July 2015 stating how convenient battery drop-off locations for consumers at retail and municipal sites will be implemented by 1 January 2016.

Act 139, as signed, is in the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members.

Proposed Scheme Released for National Battery Product Stewardship Approach in Australia

The Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) tasked with developing a national handheld battery product stewardship scheme for Australia has today released a discussion paper for consultation as well as a project communique on efforts to date. Consultation on the proposed scheme is open until 31 March.

Australian, state and territory governments have made product stewardship for handheld batteries a national priority and dedicated resources to the development of an appropriate scheme, including project funding and the establishment of the BIWG, with bipartisan support.

The discussion paper outlines a proposed voluntary, industry-led national Battery Product Stewardship Scheme (Scheme) for Australia, along with a number of options for the operation of the Scheme. The proposed Scheme would apply to all handheld batteries less than 5 kg, with the exception of embedded batteries, and comprise the following elements:

  • A Battery Stewardship Agreement that would provide a collective written commitment between stewards for developing, funding and implementing the Scheme.
  • A 5-year Strategic Plan to be developed jointly by the producer responsibility organisation (PRO) and stewards that would provide more detail for how the PRO and stewards will implement the Scheme in accordance with the Agreement.
  • Transparent annual reporting of performance against the Strategic Plan.
  • Importers seeking to meet the objectives of the Agreement through their own arrangement rather than through an industry-wide PRO would be expected to deliver a comparable Strategic Plan and annual reports to Stewards under the Agreement.

As a voluntary, industry-led national approach, the proposed Scheme is open to a broad range of stakeholders and has the benefits of simplicity of design, reduced barriers to participation and ease of understanding. The proposed Scheme would provide more immediate action with lower costs and greater certainty compared to immediate pursuit of a co-regulatory approach. Stakeholders that are already implementing collection programs or are likely to do so in the near future can be better recognised for their early action. A voluntary approach provides the flexibility to modify and improve the Scheme in order to improve performance and reduce costs, especially in the first few years of implementation.

It is envisaged that importers of handheld batteries would have primary financial responsibility for funding the Scheme, although it is recognised that other parties may make additional direct or in-kind contributions. Other parties may have roles as stewards, for example, by providing collection facilities at point-of-sale or at local council waste management sites. Options considered are provided in the discussion paper.

The Global Product Stewardship Council and GlobalPSC members have been active throughout the process:

Handheld Battery Product Stewardship Project Update

The Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) formed to support the development of a handheld battery product stewardship scheme for Australia has released their first project communique. The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection leads the development of the scheme and provides Secretariat support for the BIWG. GlobalPSC CEO Russ Martin serves as the Independent Chair.

The BIWG comprises representation from:

Retailers, brand owners, battery manufacturers and other stakeholders have been invited to participate during the development of the scheme. The GlobalPSC has been active in the scheme’s development, including stakeholder consultations and gaining overseas perspectives from experts at Call2Recycle, Energizer and P&G. GlobalPSC Foundation Members MS2 led the development of the business and public policy case for battery stewardship on behalf of SV.

The BIWG is developing a discussion paper on key issues for the design of the product stewardship scheme, including objectives, principles, scope, management, funding, targets and performance indicators. The first draft of this paper will be presented to jurisdictions and broader stakeholders 19 February in Canberra.

MobileMuster

MobileMuster is the Australian mobile phone industry’s official product stewardship program. It’s a free mobile phone recycling program that accepts all brands and types of mobile phones, plus their batteries, chargers and accessories. Basically, it’s the industry’s way of ensuring mobile phone products don’t end up in landfill – but instead are recycled in a safe, secure and ethical way.

Over 90% of the materials used in a mobile are recyclable and can be reused, avoiding future greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy, protecting our environment and conserving scarce natural resources.

Mobile phone components should also never be thrown in the rubbish, where they can end up in landfill. For one thing they’re not biodegradable, so they won’t break down. On top of that, mobiles contain some substances that can potentially harm the environment if not disposed of correctly.

At MobileMuster, we aim to make sure mobiles are handled properly at the end of their useful lives. Our mission is simple. We promise to keep mobile phones out of landfill. All we are asking you to do is to promise to recycle them.

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Global Product Stewardship Council

PO Box 755, Turramurra, NSW 2074, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9489 8851
Fax: +61 2 9489 8553
Email: info@globalpsc.net