We’ve all been guilty of throwing a dead AA or AAA battery straight into the bin right, despite the known risks of them contaminating landfill or even starting a rubbish tip fire? The good news is that this month a national recycling scheme has been launched to make it easier for Australians to dispose of their old batteries in a safe, more environmentally friendly way.
The B-cycle scheme covers smaller alkaline and lithium batteries that typically come inside power tools or TV remotes. It has teamed up with major retailers including Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings, Officeworks, and ALDI to put battery collection bins at their stores.
About 55% of people currently dispose of their batteries in general waste or recycling bins; however, this can cause serious problems because even though the battery can appear to be dead, they can still maintain some charge making them potentially flammable when in contact with other metals. It is recommended that if you can’t B-cycle, then get in the habit of wrapping the terminals of dead batteries in clear sticky tape before disposing of them.
B-cycle head Libby Chaplin says it’s important to recycle the waste stream because the commodities inside batteries are finite and valuable, with particular interest in the waste stream of lithium batteries. The demand for lithium batteries is rapidly growing due to the rise of electric cars and solar energy storage, not to mention the prolific use of mobile phones.
The scheme requires battery manufacturers to financially contribute to the cost of dealing with their products’ eventual waste streams. It is completely voluntary for companies to join, but B-cycle has convinced major players including Eveready and Energizer to contribute 2 cents for every 24 gram of product they sell in Australia.
B-cycle estimates that Australians buy enough batteries every year to circle our planet 2.3 times. It believes that 150 million loose or removable batteries are currently being stored in homes nationally.
Consumers can log onto B-cycle’s website to find their closest drop-off station.