Posts Tagged ‘Battery Implementation Working Group’

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.

 

Australian Report Shows Low Handheld Battery Recycling Rate

Posted by GlobalPSC at 3:15 pm, July 14th, 2014Comments2

 

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.

 

GlobalPSC Sustaining Government Member – Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

Posted by GlobalPSC at 10:18 am, March 7th, 2014Comments9

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection administers the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, which provides a framework for waste management and resource recovery in Queensland, Australia. Among other things, the Act provides for the development of product stewardship schemes for products of priority for Queensland. The Department also supports national product stewardship initiatives and provides the Secretariat support for the current program of work on the development of a handheld battery product stewardship scheme. More information on Queensland’s waste management and resource recovery agenda and legislation can be found here.

In June 2014, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection upgraded its GlobalPSC membership to become a Sustaining Government member.

The Department’s Manager-Waste Policy and Legislation, Kylie Hughes, serves as a member of the GlobalPSC Advisory Group and Executive Committee.

 

Russ Martin – Chief Executive Officer of GlobalPSC Director of MS2

Posted by GlobalPSC at 12:47 pm, April 26th, 2012Comments42

Russ has over 25 years experience in product stewardship, public policy and sustainability in the US, Australia and Middle East. This includes roles in government and as an advisor to governments and industry. In 2015, Russ won the Global Green Future Leadership Award from the World CSR Congress.

Russ has delivered major presentations in China, Singapore, Belgium, Serbia, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on product stewardship and sustainability.

In addition to being CEO of the GlobalPSC, Russ is Director of Martin Stewardship & Management Strategies Pty Ltd (MS2), an Australia-based consultancy. Russ served as the Independent Chair of the Battery Implementation Working Group to lead development of a national product stewardship approach for handheld batteries in Australia. Russ was appointed by the Australian Government to the Product Stewardship Framework Legislation Stakeholder Reference Group and testified before the Australian Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications on the Product Stewardship Bill 2011.

Russ was also appointed to the Australian Government’s Product Stewardship Advisory Group, which provided advice to the government on products that could be considered for attention under the Product Stewardship Act 2011 and served as the product stewardship technical lead on a stakeholder-led e-waste product stewardship framework for New Zealand.

From developing and implementing a market-based approach to increase packaging recycling in Florida, to chairing the inaugural Australian Greenhouse Conference, to crafting innovative waste management legislation in the United Arab Emirates, Russ has long been a leader in developing innovative yet pragmatic policies and programs.

Russ received his Bachelors degree in Marine Science/Biology from the University of Tampa and his Masters degree in Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management from Florida State University.

Russ developed and implemented Florida´s Advance Disposal Fee and served as Staff Director for the Florida Packaging Council.

Since moving to Australia in 1997, Russ has provided strategic economic and policy advice to a broad range of industries and governments at all levels.

Russ served as a Senior Economist with the New South Wales EPA, where he assisted with innovative regulatory reforms and provided economic and policy analysis of major environmental policies and strategies for the Minister for the Environment, the Cabinet Office, and the EPA´s Executive Branch before going into consulting.

As a consultant, Russ has represented the Australian packaging industry in negotiating the National Packaging Covenant, developed the first sustainability report for the Australian packaging industry and examined a range of international product stewardship programs for the federal government in addition to a myriad of other projects.

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