Known as B-cycle, the product stewardship scheme brings together battery importers, retailers, and everyday Australians to create a responsible lifecycle for used batteries. Backed by the Australian Government and the ACCC, B-cycle will ensure the production, distribution, and recycling of batteries is managed sustainably while ensuring the valuable materials used to make them are conserved.
What are the benefits?
Having a collective force to coordinate the recycling scheme will:
provide more recycling drop-off points for batteries and improve accessibility to collection services (many of which are free)
create a system of accountability to ensure responsible service
reduce the environmental impact of batteries sent to landfill
conserve valuable resources by keeping materials in use for longer
prevent fires in recycling trucks and facilities by educating the public on how to safely recycle batteries.
Why is recycling batteries so important?
Batteries are made of valuable yet finite materials which are wasted when sent to landfill. Having an effective recovery system in place ensures we make the most of what exists in the materials stream. This means new materials will not have to be mined to make new batteries and other products, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Most battery recyclers can recover up to 95 per cent of these materials for use in new manufacturing projects. This includes components such as steel, copper, and aluminium. The still active components, such as graphite, cobalt, nickel, and lithium, a refined into a mixed metal dust, which can be used to produce new lithium-ion batteries.
Many types of batteries also contain hazardous materials which can degrade in landfill (or even in your home, if stored improperly). When they degrade, they release toxic chemicals that can leach into soil or waterways. Batteries also pose a significant fire risk if they are not disposed of or stored responsibly.
How to recycle batteries at work
Workplaces, businesses and other organisations can purchase a safe and secure recycling collection box through Batteries 4 Planet Ark. The recycling program is accredited by B-cycle and includes a pick-up service when the box is full.
Your workplace can also search Business Recycling for recycling options including drop-off and pick-up services in your area.
How to safely recycle and store batteries
Batteries should never be put in recycling or garbage bins unless they are specialised collection bins for batteries. Rechargeable batteries and lithium-ion batteries are hazardous and could produce sparks that could potentially start a fire in the truck or recycling facility. This includes batteries in laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cameras.
Tape your terminals
Put sticky tape, duct tape, or electrical tape over the battery ‘terminal’ to prevent them from causing a spark. A battery terminal is the electrical connection point of the battery. They are located in different areas depending on the type of battery (at both ends of regular batteries, for example). Use clear tape on both sides of button batteries to ensure the recycler can identify the battery type.
Store batteries safely at home or work
Store used batteries in a clearly labeled glass container. Make sure the container is not airtight, as pressure can build up.
Don’t store batteries in a metal container, or with metal objects, as they can spark and create a fire.
Put sticky tape over the battery terminals before disposing of them or storing them.
Keep batteries in a cool, dry place, away from heat sources like stoves.
Keep batteries away from children, especially small batteries that can be swallowed, like button batteries.
For more safety tips, visit B-cycle.