Battery Recycling Bins
Perth's first Dry Cell Battery recycling program began in 2003 with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council. The Program initially ran in primary school libraries and gradually expanded as more funding became available.
In 2008, WALGA was awarded funding through the Strategic Waste Initiative Scheme 2005, for the recycling of batteries. In 2009, the Metropolitan Battery Bin Program was launched. Under this program, a battery working group was established and 150 recycling bins (based on the EMRC design) was rolled out to public libraries and shopping centres.
For information on locations and types of batteries accepted visit the Waste Authority Website.
Household Battery Recycling
Consumer and household batteries are predominantly portable batteries, readily available to the public and usually the following types – dry cell: acid and alkali, NiCad, Li-Ion, NiMH, and button batteries (HgO, AgO and Zinc-Air). Batteries are the most common form of Hazardous Waste disposed by Australia households. A huge 97% of disposed batteries end up in the municipal waste collection and are sent to landfill. There are a number of potential environmental impacts from household batteries. These can be summarised into: contamination in landfill; interference with Alternative Waste Treatment (composting) facilities; and upstream environmental impacts associated with a failure to recycle the constituent materials from batteries.
Traditionally there has been little recycling of batteries in Western Australia. AusZinc, a producer of metal alloys based in Sydney is able to recover all of the metals and components in alkaline batteries. The recovered materials are turned into products such as street lights and new batteries.
Battery Collection Model Study
As a part of the Strategic Waste Initiatives Scheme the Municipal Waste Advisory Council (MWAC) has carried out an investigation into models for reducing the disposal of household batteries to general garbage and for collecting consumer batteries for specialised disposal and/or recycling. A copy of the report is available here. The accompanying paper, Battery Avoidance Methods, is available here.