Posts Tagged ‘BatteryBack’

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

 

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:

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.

GlobalPSC, SV and ABRI Facilitating Battery Product Stewardship

Posted by GlobalPSC at 9:46 am, August 7th, 2012Comments4

 

 

 

 

 

The Global Product Stewardship Council is pleased to announce that we are working with one of our longest-standing government members, Sustainability Victoria (SV), and the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) to facilitate battery product stewardship in Australia.

Sustainability Victoria’s BatteryBack program has been running for the last 5 years and has collected and processed over 6.7 tonnes of domestic batteries. However, 4.6 tonnes has been collected in the last 2 years, indicating more than just steady growth. It is SV’s intention to grow the collection system to increase the access for Victorians to drop off their spent batteries to be processed responsibility and develop the business case to reduce cost.

The GlobalPSC is assisting SV and ABRI through research, facilitation of stakeholder discussions, insight on lessons learned from overseas programs and developing the public policy and business case for battery product stewardship. The first step is initial stakeholder discussions, with an aim to developing a strategic plan to address domestic battery stewardship over the next three years.

Batteries hold special significance for the GlobalPSC. We led a European study tour that included industry-led battery product stewardship programs in Belgium and Switzerland (referred to as BEBAT and INOBAT, respectively). Several GlobalPSC corporate members, Call2Recycle, Raw Materials Company Inc., MobileMuster and TES-AMM Australia New Zealand operate programs that collect and recycle various batteries. One of our government members, the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, has also implemented product stewardship for batteries.

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