Batteries should never
be put in your household recycling or garbage bin. Australia has a national recycling scheme for batteries with thousands of recycling locations available across the country.
Batteries should never be put in your recycling or waste bin. Rechargeable batteries and lithium-ion batteries are hazardous and could produce sparks that may start a fire in the trucks or recycling facility. This includes batteries in laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cameras. Place sticky tape around battery terminals to prevent fires (scroll down for more information).
Australia’s national product stewardship scheme for battery recycling is called B-cycle. This program has partnered with approximately 100 organisations across Australia to provide recycling drop-off points for the public. Visit B-cycle for a full list of recycling drop-off points.
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 (e.g. buttons and 12 volts) see below.
Battery World has a recycling program with collection points at most stores (some stores in WA do not accept batteries for recycling). Check with your local store to find out which types of batteries are accepted.
Bunnings has a recycling program for batteries including batteries from power tools. The recycling unit is located at the front of each store. Handheld batteries are accepted including AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, 6V and button batteries.
Coles is rolling out battery recycling units in their stores over the coming months. Check directly with your store to see if they have a recycling unit. Various types of household batteries are accepted including AA, AAA, C, D, 6V, 9V, button batteries, rechargeable batteries, and batteries that can be easily removed from electrical products like cameras and power tools.
Officeworks is no longer accepting batteries at in-store recycling units. Some stores, however, may still accept mobile phones and laptops.
Woolworths supermarkets have battery and mobile phone collection points in store.
How to tape batteries to prevent fires
Even dead batteries have some residual charge, so it is very important to place sticky tape around the battery ‘terminal’ before recycling them. 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).
HOW TO RECYCLE BATTERIES AT WORK
Workplaces and businesses can register for a safe and secure recycling collection box through Batteries 4 Planet Ark. The program 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.
WHY SHOULD I RECYCLE MY BATTERIES?
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.
Recycling batteries keeps toxic materials out of landfill where they can contaminate the soil and groundwater. It also ensures the valuable materials in batteries are recycled into the something new, which reduces the amount of finite natural resources used in the production of new batteries.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BATTERIES WHEN I RECYCLE THEM?
Batteries that are recycled are processed to recover the plastics and metals, some of which are used to manufacture new batteries.
Envirostream, Australia’s first onshore lithium, nickel metal and alkaline battery processor, is able to recover 95% of the materials in the batteries for recycling. Any steel, copper and aluminium recovered is returned to the manufacturing sector for recycling, while the active components of lithium-ion batteries (including graphite, cobalt, nickel and lithium) are used to produce a valuable product called mixed metal dust, which is used to produce new lithium-ion batteries.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF BATTERIES
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.
Buying rechargeable batteries is a great 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.
OTHER BATTERY RECYCLING PROGRAMS
Mobile phone batteries are accepted by MobileMuster including at Officeworks and Woolworths. Find recycling options for mobile phones.
Computer batteries are accepted in some Officeworks stores. They can also be recycled through an accredited recycler of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme. Find recycling options for computers.
Car batteries can be recycled at many garages, transfer stations and waste management centres. Find recycling options for car batteries.
To learn about Australia’s product stewardship scheme for batteries, including more information on how to tape and safely store batteries, visit B-cycle.