Rechargeable batteries contain metals such as cadmium, which can be harmful to the environment. They are classified as hazardous waste and they must not be disposed of with general waste.
Batteries - Rechargable
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Rechargeable batteries commonly contain toxic metals such as nickel-cadmium (NiCad), nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion, which can harm the environment by contaminating soil and groundwater. Used rechargeable batteries are classified as a hazardous waste under the Hazardous Waste Act 1989 and they must not be disposed of with general waste.
There are a number of collection and/or recycling programs accepting rechargeable batteries.
What Happens When It’s Recycled?
After batteries are collected, they are sorted by their types and components then sent to licensed recycling facilities in Australia and overseas for processing. The nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion components in rechargeable batteries can all be recycled. The recovered metals are made into other products, while the cadmium can be returned to battery manufacturers to create a fully closed loop recycling system.
More Info & Sources
Responsible Recycling of Used Nickel Cadmium Batteries: How to manage the environmental, financial and reputational risks
ABRI has prepared a short brochure outlining the basic requirements for the management of used nickel cadmium batteries. This resource has been developed to help mechanics and electricians manage their business risks, avoid legal prosecution, protect the health and safety of workers and the general public, and to avoid environmental damage from spills or accidents.