There are a wide range of battery types, many of which contain toxic metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead. Others contain valuable materials like magnesium and zinc. Used rechargeable batteries are a hazardous waste and should not be placed in the garbage bin. This includes batteries in laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cameras.
Aldi supermarkets offer a free battery recycling service at all their Australian stores. Any brand of AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries (both rechargeable and non-rechargeable) are accepted - simply drop your used batteries into the dedicated bins in store. For other services and for options for different battery types (eg buttons and 12 volts) see below.
Brisbane residents can recycle used power tool batteries though the pilot Power Tool Batteryback program that runs in participating Bunning, Masters and TradeTools stores until June 2016.
If your workplace or business has large quantities of batteries to recycle, visit BusinessRecycling.com.au to find suitable collection or pick up service options.
How to recycle batteries at work
There are many recycling companies that offer national collection services for commercial quantities of all types of batteries. To find a commercial battery recycling service for your workplace or business, visit BusinessRecycling.com.au
Single-use batteries are usually alkaline batteries with Zinc, Manganese or Lithium chemistry. Rechargeable batteries are commonly Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride or Lithium Ion. Rechargeable batteries are found in the same shapes and voltage as single-use batteries, as well as specifically designed for laptops, mobile phones and electronic equipment.
How to reduce your battery waste
Try to minimise battery usage by connecting appliances to the mains power where possible. Buying rechargeable batteries is an important way to reduce battery waste. Each battery can be recharged up to 1000 times, saving you money and reducing pollution from discarded batteries.
There are many retailers who sell battery rechargers, which conveniently take less than 15 minutes to recharge.
Batteries can be processed to recover plastics and metals, some of which are used to manufacture new batteries.
See Planet Ark's Battery Recycling Factsheet for further information on battery composition and recycling.
The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) is an industry and community working group, established to investigate a coordinated national collection and recycling scheme for batteries.
See the Power Tool Batteryback page for information about a pilot power tool battery recycling program running in Brisbane until June 2016.