Thursday, July 25, 2024

Australia’s official battery recycling scheme launches

Australia’s new national government-backed battery recycling scheme has officially launched across the country today.

Founded by the not-for-profit organisation, the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC), the B-cycle Scheme will combat what is said to be one of the nation’s fastest growing waste streams. It aims to redirect 90% of used batteries that currently go to landfill, causing environmental impact and wasting precious resources. 

Most batteries have always been recyclable, but until now, a nationally coordinated infrastructure hasn’t been in place to collect and recycle single use or rechargeable batteries such as alkaline or lithium batteries.

Australians will be able to identify their closest drop off point by entering their postcode into the B-cycle website.

B-cycle is launching with 2351 drop off points. The network is set to grow by an additional 1200 drop off points in the coming weeks. This extensive network will include retail stores nationwide such as ALDI, Woolworths, Bunnings and Officeworks, and community organisations such as the Lions Club. Drop off points, including at Coles, will be added over the coming months as more battery collectors and recyclers become accredited.

B-cycle CEO Libby Chaplin says our day to day lives are fast moving to a battery powered world, yet the materials we rely on for those batteries are in limited supply.

“The new B-cycle Scheme brings people, businesses and communities together to make sure that no used battery goes to waste, protecting people, our planet, and future battery materials,” she says.  

“Now with B-cycle, consumers will be able to access our accredited network of battery drop off points and be confident their batteries are being safely recycled. We’re looking forward to Australians getting familiar with their local B-cycle bins and taking advantage of this new Scheme.” 

Government support

The B-cycle Scheme is supported by the commonwealth and all state and territory governments, authorised by the ACCC, and funded by the federal government and the battery industry.

The Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans says the Australian government has invested $1 million for the BSC to establish and launch B-cycle.

“All Australians can help Australia move to a circular economy in which we routinely recycle and reuse our waste resources by taking their used batteries including household batteries, power tool batteries, camera batteries, and e-bike batteries to participating drop off points including ALDI, Bunnings, Officeworks, Total Tools, Woolworths, and soon Coles,” he says.

“Batteries play a critical role in powering our everyday lives. With new applications for batteries constantly evolving, leading brands such as Energizer, Duracell, Panasonic, Super Retail Group, Milwaukee, Stanley Black & Decker, and Makita, along with numerous other brands, are playing a pivotal role in funding the B-cycle Scheme. These forward-thinking organisations are allowing consumers the choice to buy better for the earth.”

Retailer support

ALDI Australia Director Corporate Responsibility Daniel Baker says as a major Australian retailer, ALDI recognises its responsibility to reduce its environmental impact.

“The chemicals in batteries are toxic and those that are sent to landfill can cause damage to the environment, potentially harming wildlife and affecting surrounding soil or waterways. Further, recycling the useful materials within batteries into new products reduces the need for virgin materials,” he says.

“That’s why we were the first Australian supermarket to introduce a battery recycling service in 2013. Customers are able to return old batteries to any ALDI store to recycle them for free and in 2020 alone, ALDI diverted 7.5 million batteries from landfill.

“As an industry partner of the newly accredited B-cycle Scheme, we welcome the opportunity to work with the Battery Stewardship Council to encourage more Australians to recycle their batteries by continuing to provide a solution for battery recycling enabling customers to do so safely and conveniently.”

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