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Each year in Australia millions of batteries reach the end of their working life. Sadly, just 3% of handheld batteries (those weighting less than 5kg) are recycled. The rest, including many that contain toxic components, get dumped into landfill.
It's a sad state of affairs because not only is it possible to recycle batteries, with hundreds of battery collection points around Australia, it's also simple and convenient. So what are the options for battery recycling in Australia?
Small Batteries From Households And Small Businesses
Only dealing with a few batteries? A number of major retailers accept a range of batteries for recycling.
Aldi supermarkets will take AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt batteries (both single use and rechargeable) for recycling. Other major chains that collect household type batteries include Officeworks, IKEA, and Battery World. Most council offices also provide a collection service for a range of batteries.
You can find nearby collection points at recyclingnearyou.com.au/batteries. If you are looking to recycle less common types of batteries, check with the retailer that they do accept them.
Generally these collection services are provided free of charge if you are disposing of small quantities. Some operators may charge for particular types of batteries or larger volumes.
Recycle Power Tool Batteries
Some council depots and retailers will accept power tool batteries for recycling, but check first. Tradies and handy-people in Brisbane have a chance to kick-start power tool battery recycling, with a free pilot program supported by Bunnings, Masters and TradeTools stores. This service accepts power tool batteries up to 500g in weight.
It is particularly important that older nickel-cadmium power tool batteries are recycled. Cadmium is a toxic metal and a carcinogen – definitely something we don't want leaking out of landfills and into the environment.
Recycle Car Batteries
In contrast to household batteries, lead-acid car batteries enjoy a very high recycling rate. Many councils, as well as Battery World, Repco Auto Parts, Super Cheap Auto and anumber of other retailers and organisations support free car batteries recycling.
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Got Larger Quantities Of Old Batteries?
If your business or organisation generates larger quantities of battery waste – enough, say, to fill a two litre container each year – then you should look at commercial battery recyclers located in your state. Commercial battery recyclers can provide battery recycling buckets of varying sizes that your business can use to responsibly dispose of most types of batteries, including power tool and camera batteries. Additionally, businesses with large quantities of battery waste can organise battery recycling programs within the workplace to help minimise waste and keep mercury out of our environment.
This is a guest article by CMA Ecocycle
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