Posts Tagged ‘Australian Battery Recycling Initiative’

Guest Blog – Battery Stewardship Moves to the Next Stage in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 2:11 pm, August 13th, 2015Comments4

The Global Product Stewardship Council periodically invites thought leaders on product stewardship and producer responsibility to contribute guest blogs. Our guest blogger for this post is Dr Helen Lewis, Principal of Helen Lewis Research and Chief Executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI). 

 

At their last meeting in July, Australian Environment Ministers agreed to continue work on an industry-driven stewardship program for handheld batteries but with a focus on hazardous and rechargeable batteries only.

This is a significant win for Energizer, Duracell and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA), who have argued that battery stewardship for primary batteries would need to be regulated to ensure that all suppliers participate. During a Product Stewardship Institute battery recycling webinar (5/6 November 2014) Energizer’s spokesman advised that they had ‘zero tolerance’ for voluntary stewardship but would work with ABRI to develop a regulatory solution.

Handheld batteries are one of only two product categories that are still listed on the national ‘priority list’ for government action under the Product Stewardship Act. That list identifies products that the Minister for the Environment will consider for regulation or accreditation under the Act.

The Queensland Government is leading negotiations on the battery stewardship program on behalf of all government jurisdictions. A discussion paper, released in March 2014, outlined proposals for battery stewardship that were well received by most stakeholders but failed to secure the necessary level of industry support, particularly from primary battery manufacturers.

Following the Ministers’ decision to refine the scope to rechargeable and hazardous batteries only, a more focused proposal is expected to be developed by key industry associations and brand owners in late 2015 for broader consultation. While the exact scope of the stewardship scheme is yet to be defined, it is likely to include all handheld rechargeable batteries weighing less than 5kg as well as primary button cells. Button and coin cells have been the subject of extensive media coverage in Australia over the past two years due to an increasing number of infants and children presenting at hospitals with life threatening injuries associated with batteries.

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative will continue to advocate for ‘all battery’ recycling services because these offer the most convenient and environmentally-responsible solution for consumers. Existing battery recycling programs, which are funded by state government agencies, local councils and retailers such as ALDI and Battery World, already collect both primary and secondary batteries.

Nevertheless, the establishment of a national, voluntary stewardship scheme for rechargeable batteries would be a welcome development because it would increase industry engagement and improve the availability of recycling services. ABRI is working on a series of pilot projects for particular battery types to inform the design of a national program. The first of these, for power tool batteries, will commence in September this year.

At the same time ABRI will continue to work on regulatory options for primary batteries. These include stand-alone regulations (similar to the model legislation developed by the battery industry in the US) or extension of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme to include primary batteries. If discussions on a voluntary scheme for rechargeable batteries do not reach a successful outcome in 2016 then ABRI will argue that regulations should apply to all handheld batteries.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Global Product Stewardship Council.  

Helen Lewis is part-time chief executive of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative. She has been actively involved in product stewardship initiatives for plastics, packaging and batteries for over 20 years. Helen is a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group

 

Calls for Handheld Battery EPR in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:01 pm, February 9th, 2015Comments1

The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) is calling for producer responsibility legislation for household batteries. ABRI has written to The Hon Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister for the Environment, asking the government to investigate co-regulation (equivalent to extended producer responsibility, or EPR) for handheld batteries.

ABRI notes the varying levels of support for voluntary and regulatory approaches, plus the recent efforts of the U.S.-based Corporation for Battery Recycling (including three of the largest single-use battery manufacturers) to work with other stakeholders to develop the Model Consumer Battery Stewardship Act. A media release regarding ABRI’s effort is available here.

Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group (BIWG) was established in late 2013 to develop a framework for a national battery product stewardship approach. Environment Ministers had stated that their preference was for a voluntary approach. Handheld batteries had also been designated as priority products for product stewardship. Research commissioned by the BIWG shows a recycling rate of only 2.7 per cent. Background research and BIWG recommendations for a voluntary approach are available here.

“ABRI would have preferred to see a voluntary battery stewardship scheme established in Australia, but our focus is now on building an appropriate regulatory framework. We are confident that this can be done in a way that meets everyone’s needs,” Helen Lewis, ABRI’s CEO (and member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group) told the GlobalPSC.

 

Webinar – Battery Stewardship Developments in the U.S. A Joint Government and Industry Regulatory Solution for Single Use + Rechargeable Batteries

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:52 pm, October 2nd, 2014Comments3

The United States is on the verge of breakthrough legislation for both primary (single-use) and rechargeable batteries. This shift from a voluntary approach to a regulatory approach covering both battery types has coalesced over the past six months, as an increasing number of government agencies have expressed interest in a legislative solution to household battery management. This webinar will discuss the unique differences between the single-use and rechargeable battery industries, key issues that are being addressed to find a unified legislation solution, explore lessons for other countries such as Australia (where consultation is underway on a national battery stewardship scheme), and outstanding challenges faced by US state and local governments, manufacturers, retailers, and other key stakeholders in the year ahead.

The date of the webinar is:

  • if attending from Australia – Nov. 6th at 9 a.m. EST
  • if attending from the US – Nov. 5th at 7 p.m. EST.

Moderated by Scott Cassel, CEO & Founder, Product Stewardship Institute.

Speakers will include:

  • Marc Boolish, Director of Technology, Energizer Battery Manufacturing Inc, and President, Corporation for Battery Recycling
  • Carl Smith, CEO/President, Call2Recycle
  • Jen Holliday, Compliance Program and Product Stewardship Manager, Chittenden County, Vermont
  • Garth Hickle, Product Stewardship Team Leader, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Introduction by Russ Martin, CEO, Global Product Stewardship Council and Independent Chair, Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group.

Register here.

Registration is free for Australian residents thanks to our sponsors the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), TES-AMMQueensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and Canon, in partnership with the GlobalPSC. For details on how to register at no charge please contact Russ Martin at russ@globalpsc.net.

Proposed Scheme Released for National Battery Product Stewardship Approach in Australia

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:05 pm, March 7th, 2014Comments4

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:

GlobalPSC Member – Helen Lewis Research

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:39 am, March 7th, 2014Comments9

Dr Helen Lewis, founder of Helen Lewis Research, is an environmental consultant with a focus on product stewardship and packaging sustainability.

She works for a variety of clients in government and the private sector to promote design for sustainability and increased recovery of products and packaging at end of life.

Helen has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) since early 2010. She has also worked closely with the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC) since its inception on capacity building projects including delivery of workshops, guidelines and industry case studies.

Helen is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP). She is co-author of:

  • ‘Packaging for Sustainability’, with Karli Verghese and Leanne Fitzpatrick (Springer, 2012)
  • ‘Design + Environment’, with John Gertsakis (Greenleaf, 2001).

Helen also serves as a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group.

 

Handheld Battery Product Stewardship Project Update

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:59 pm, January 29th, 2014Comments1

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.

GlobalPSC Priority Product Stewardship Workshop Presentations Available

Posted by GlobalPSC at 5:50 pm, November 25th, 2013Comments4

On 18 November 2013 in Port Melbourne, Australia, the GlobalPSC brought global leaders on product-specific producer responsibility collection and reprocessing initiatives together to help identify and learn from international best practice to assist Australia’s efforts to develop national product stewardship approaches for batteries, paint and other materials. Featured international speakers included:

• Carl Smith, CEO and President, Call2Recycle (North America)
• Alison Keane, Vice President Government Affairs, American Coatings Association, on behalf of PaintCare
• Mark Kurschner, President, Product Care Association (North America)
• Corinne Faure-Rochu, Director Business Development, Recupyl (France)

An interactive panel session included these speakers and other product-specific experts on batteries and paint from the USA, UK and Australia. Full program and details are available here. A special evening function sponsored by the GlobalPSC, Sustainability Victoria and Infoactiv provided even greater access to this international line-up for GlobalPSC members.

Thanks to our speakers, sponsors and supporters, we were able to make attendance free for GlobalPSC members in proportion to their membership level.

Presentations from the workshop have been provided to attendees and are now available on the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC members under the Programs category in addition to being searchable in the Knowledge Base.

 

Australian Battery Stewardship Stakeholder Workshop Results

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:28 pm, August 30th, 2013Comments5

On 13 August 2013, battery stakeholders and government representatives met in Brisbane to discuss the development of a national battery product stewardship scheme for Australia. The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), a GlobalPSC member, is the lead jurisdiction on batteries for Australia’s governments.

Workshop attendees considered four questions in relation to a scheme—

  1. the vision for the program;
  2. the scope (which types of batteries should be covered and why);
  3. the form of the scheme and;
  4. effectiveness of the program in addressing the public policy and business case considerations.

After opening comments and discussions with The Hon. Andrew Powell, Queensland’s Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, attendees were split into four groups to discuss each question separately. The groups then reported back and their responses were compiled. A summary of the workshop has been posted on the Knowledge Base available to GlobalPSC Members.

(L-R: Dr Diana Wright, First Assistant Secretary, Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities; Andrew Chesterman, Director-General, EHP; Fiona Proctor, Minister’s Media Advisor; The Hon. Andrew Powell, Minister for EHP; Tony Roberts, Deputy Director-General, EHP; Bill Ford of Toshiba)

 

The GlobalPSC and its members have been active in the program’s development. GlobalPSC Foundation Members MS2 led the development of the business and public policy case for battery stewardship on behalf of Australia’s Victorian Government. The report was circulated to attendees in advance of the workshop. GlobalPSC CEO Russ Martin, who was recently appointed as the independent chair of Australia’s Battery Implementation Working Group, facilitated the workshop. The GlobalPSC also facilitated earlier discussions on battery product stewardship with one of our longest-standing government members, Sustainability Victoria, and the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative.

GlobalPSC Priority Product Stewardship Workshop

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:45 pm, August 30th, 2013Comments5

18 November, 2013
DHL, 18-22 Salmon St, Port Melbourne, Australia

Australia has released a priority list of products potentially covered under the Product Stewardship Act 2011. The designated products include:
• Waste paint
• End-of-life handheld batteries
• Packaging
• End-of-life air conditioners with small gas charges
• End-of-life refrigerators with small gas charges

The Act provides a framework for establishing voluntary, co-regulatory and regulatory approaches for product stewardship. Australia’s Environment Ministers have also developed plans for paint and battery product stewardship. The GlobalPSC is helping the Commonwealth and state governments facilitate the efforts for batteries and paint.

The GlobalPSC is bringing global leaders on product-specific producer responsibility collection and reprocessing initiatives to help identify and learn from international best practice to assist these efforts. Featured international speakers include:

• Carl Smith, CEO and President, Call2Recycle (North America)
• Alison Keane, Vice President Government Affairs, American Coatings Association
• Mark Kurschner, President, Product Care Association (North America)
• Corinne Faure-Rochu, Director Business Development, Recupyl (France)

Panel sessions will include these speakers and other product-specific experts on batteries and paint from the USA and Australia. A special evening function will enable even greater access to this international line-up for GlobalPSC members. Full program and details are available here.

Attendance is free for GlobalPSC members in proportion to their membership level (5 free for Sustaining Members, 2 for Standard Members and 1 for other categories) but registrations are necessary for catering. Registrations are $299 plus GST for non-members of the GlobalPSC. Event details, registration and payment information are available at http://globalpsc.eventbrite.com.au. Lunch will be provided for registered attendees.

 

Batteryback Launches Across 34 Melbourne Retail Locations

Posted by GlobalPSC at 8:15 pm, July 4th, 2013Comments0

The Global Product Stewardship Council recently joined Sustainability Victoria (SV), the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), MobileMuster, recyclers including TES-AMM and various retailers in launching Batteryback across 34 retail locations in Melbourne, Australia. Batteryback is a free household battery collection and recycling service available at select Bunnings, Coles, HEARLINK, Michael’s Cameras, Queen’s Parade Hardware and Officeworks stores.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan (pictured, 2nd from right) said Batteryback aims to reduce the number of batteries going to landfill and recover more reusable material within the batteries, noting
“Every year 350 million batteries are imported into Australia. 260 million of these batteries will be disposed of and only 5% are currently being recycled.
“Batteries contain dangerous substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, zinc that are not only hazardous to human health and the environment but are valuable resources that should be recovered and re-used.”
“Since Batteryback first began as a trial in 2007, the program has recycled over 8,000 kilograms of batteries, equivalent to over 421,000 AA batteries. Today, with 34 retail sites located across Melbourne it is now even more convenient for households to recycle their batteries.
“Batteryback is a great example of government and industry working in partnership to provide safe disposal solutions for waste, increase recycling and maintain a healthy environment for all”, said Mr Krpan.
Dr Helen Lewis, CEO of ABRI (pictured, far right) said,
“ABRI is seeking industry and government support for a national program to recover and recycle all household batteries. Batteryback is an important stepping stone in this process”
The Australian Government and jurisdictions have been actively targeting batteries and paint for product stewardship initiatives. Packaging, air conditioners and refrigerators have also been targeted for possible action. The GlobalPSC and members such as SV, the Australian Paint Manufacturers’ Federation Inc. and Australian Packaging Covenant are collaborating to help ensure that such efforts are practical and effective.
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