Author: Emily Donnelly
We use batteries almost every day; in TV remotes, smoke alarms, watches, mobile phones, computers and children's toys. However, even though batteries are recyclable, around 8,000 tonnes or 97 per cent end up in landfill each year.
Batteries don't belong in landfill as they contain non-renewable resources and hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium or mercury, which can seep from landfills into the environment. Australians are looking for responsible means for recycling their used batteries and last year, there were 110,000 visitors to Planet Ark's Recycling Near You service to find recycling options. Additionally, since the inception of ALDI's ActivEnergy program in 2012, more than 2.7 million batteries have been recycled.
With recycling in mind, the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) has called for producer responsibility legislation for household batteries, declaring that it is no longer acceptable to dispose of used batteries in landfill.
ABRI (of which Planet Ark is a member) has been working closely with industry, government and environment groups to develop a voluntary stewardship program, which would include the ‘take-back' and safe recycling of batteries. Unfortunately, without the support of the key manufacturers who represent a majority of the batteries used in Australia, such a scheme cannot succeed and it is clear that government intervention is needed to ensure the creation of a scheme.
Intervention of this type has taken place in the past with the creation of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, which was developed to collect and recycle old televisions, computers, printers and accessories. However, not all schemes need government intervention. The voluntary ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' has been operating for more than ten years and is supported by Brother, Canon, Epson, Konica Minolta, HP and Kyocera. To date, the program has diverted more than 25 million cartridges from landfill.
For more information on how you can recycling your batteries and cartridges, head to RecyclingNearYou.com.au or call the Recycling Near You hotline on 1300 733 712.