Power Tool Battery recycling creates buzz in Brisbane
Author: Rebecca Gredley
TWO tonnes of power tool batteries have been collected in Brisbane since the launch of a recycling pilot program in September 2015.
The Power Tool Batteryback recycling pilot has been designed by the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) and has the potential to become a national program. People with old power tool batteries are encouraged to continue recycling them while the program is available until June 30, 2016.
There are three million power tool batteries that reach their end of life in Australia each year. The batteries are full of toxins such as cadmium, which is a carcinogen that must be kept out of landfill and safely processed.
Brad Gray, Head of Campaigns at Planet Ark, says that the effort is incredibly worthwhile as every battery sent for recycling is one that is diverted away from landfill and kept out of the environment.
“It’s an impressive achievement that almost two tonnes of potentially hazardous power tools have been collected in just five months in one city,” he said.
Helen Lewis, Chief Executive of ABRI, thanked those who have been involved so far.
“We encourage everyone else to check their shed or workshop for any old power tool batteries and make sure you recycle them before the pilot wraps up,” she said.
Collection points are available at participating Bunnings, Masters, TradeTools and Total Tools stores.
To help the design of a permanent, national scheme, consumers and tradies are being encouraged to complete a two-minute survey about power tool batteries. By completing the survey, respondents are automatically in the running to have the chance to win one of ten Bosch tool kits valued at $199 each. There will be one on offer each month until June 30, 2016, when the pilot program concludes.
By weight, 70% of batteries collected have been lithium-ion, 22% the highly toxic nickel cadmiu, followed by 8% nickel metal hydride. Rather than these hazardous substances going to landfill, they will be safely recycled to recover their reusable materials.
By brand, the batteries collected have been 34% Makita, 18% Hitachi, 10% Bosch and 7% Panasonic. In early March 2016 there will be retailer and manufacturer forums where the results will be discussed and to develop future solutions.
The collected batteries are sorted by their chemistry type, then transported overseas for final processing and recycling under strict environment and safety laws. As collection volumes increase, local processing of alkaline and lithium batteries may become commercially viable in Australia.