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.
Batteries should never be put in the recycling bin or in your 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.
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.
Participating Battery World retail outlets recycle all battery types. Locate a store and call ahead to ensure they can accept your batteries for recycling.
Officeworks are providing battery recycling services in some of their stores. Call ahead to ensure they can accept your batteries for recycling.
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.
Other Battery Recycling Programs
Some waste management companies run nationwide programs that recycle all types of batteries (except motor vehicle batteries). Flat-packed boxes are posted out to your location and full boxes sent back for recycling with an administration fee. To find out more visit MRI e-cycle solutions or SUEZ.
Mobile Phone Batteries are accepted in the programs above and with mobile phones and other accessories in the MobileMuster program.
Computer Batteries are accepted in the Battery World, MRI e-cycle solutions and SUEZ programs above, and with computers and other accessories in various computer recycling or re-use programs.
Motor Vehicle Batteries are recycled through a national network of Battery Recycling Centres established by Century Yuasa, and at many garages, transfer stations and waste management centres.
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.
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 Envirostream, Australia’s first onshore lithium, nickel metal and alkaline battery processor.