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ABRI Member Bulletin ~ 21 June 2021

Members Bulletin – upcoming events and regulatory/policy/funding developments

  1. Additional information on Vic new environmental requirements
  2. ABRI members meeting 23 June – Please REGISTER beforehand via Zoom
  3. Commonwealth work on e-waste (including lithium ion battery) policy
  4. NSW Government funding for projects (including infrastructure) to trial the management of end-of-life solar panel and batteries
  5. Appointment of new ABRI Treasurer, Chris Tangey, Ecycle Solutions
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1. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON VIC NEW ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS

Following some questions from members about the new Vic environmental regulations, here is an update on next steps and some general comments on waste battery management under the new arrangements. Please note that these are comments (not advice) and you should check what’s applicable to your business.

Release of the general guidance for waste batteries is expected around mid July. ABRI is working with the Vic EPA to set up an industry session on waste battery management in August.

Please send Katharine Hole, CEO (secretariat@batteryrecycling.org.au) any comments on how implementation, for example waste tracker, is progressing so that I can send through questions to the EPA ahead of the August session.

Following are some general comments on how the Act and Regulations relate.

The Act sets out the broad duties (responsibilities) and overarching framework:

  • The General Environment Duty applies to any person who is engaging in an activity that may give rise to risks of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste. The person must minimise their risks of harm so far as reasonably practicable.
  • It covers e-waste (waste batteries of any type) or specified e-waste (eg. rechargeable batteries) for collection, storage, handling, transport, or reprocessing.
  • Most batteries are classified as a priority waste and therefore have waste duties.
  • Where lead-acid batteries and nickel-cadmium batteries are industrial waste, they are classified as reportable priority waste when consigning for transport and have additional requirements (e.g. reporting through waste tracker).

The Regulations provide the detail and more direction on how to meet your duties particularly around permissions (eg. licences, permits, registrations) which allow receipt of waste and recycling materials at a facility.  They also ensure certain standards and conditions are met at a facility. Permission categories which may be applicable for waste battery activities are:

  • An AO2b licence permission is required when reprocessing specified e-waste at a design capacity of more than 500 tonnes per year.
  • An A02c registration permission is required when reprocessing specified e-waste at a design capacity of less than 500 tonnes per year.
  • An A13 permission waste and resource recovery permission (licence, permit or registration depending on scale and types of waste received) is required for the receipt, storage and processing of many waste types, including non-specified e-waste (non-rechargeable batteries).

The EPA website has more information including recorded webinars and slides which discuss the new framework. The presentation on permissions (licences, permits, registration) is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8jY4_zFl3s&t=2550s. This includes discussion of the transitional arrangements for applying for permissions from 1 July 2021. The home page for the new rules is at https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/laws/new-laws

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2. ABRI MEMBERS MEETING 23 JUNE - PLEASE REGISTER BEFOREHAND VIA ZOOM AND AGENDA

Please sign up for the next ABRI Members discussion forum and briefing on 23 June. The forum is form 12.30 to 2.30pm. To receive the zoom meeting link, you will need to register at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEkf–grz8sH9cI1PNPESdeo1xepQYUcoLT.

Key agenda items include presentations from:

  • Energy Renaissance on the development of a lithium ion battery factor in Newcastle
  • Update from the Battery Stewardship Council on program status
  • NSW Government next steps in the establishment of a critical minerals and battery recycling precinct in Parkes
  • ABRI prirorities for the remainder of 2021

Should you wish to provide feedback/input on the agenda or topics of interest please contact Katharine Hole, CEO, ABRI via the secretariat email secretariat@batteryrecycling.org.au

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3. COMMONWEALTH WORK ON E-WASTE (INCLUDING LITHIUM BATTERY) POLICY

Through the National Waste Policy Action Plan, all Australian jurisdictions agreed to ‘develop a common approach to restrict the disposal of priority products and materials in landfill, starting with lithium-ion batteries, materials collected for the purpose of recycling, and e-waste’ (Action 3.9).

At the recent meeting of the Heads of Environment Protection Agencies, the Commonwealth sought agreement from all jurisdictions to work together to understand, and respond to, the current e-waste (including the lithium batteries) challenge.

The Commonwealth will also be undertaking national consultation on e-waste, to inform the policy and regulatory settings for Australia to manage e-waste in a manner that protects the environment and supports economic development.

The Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment will be leading this work.

This is an opportunity for ABRI to consider how to address some of our priority issues:

  • coordinating work across environmental, safework and emergency (fire) agencies for streamlining battery reporting and engaging in the development of lithium safety frameworks
  • assistance available to support the development of lithium safety guidelines
  • education and research, including an ABRI project with the CSIRO, to develop a framework for setting out the different characteristics and safety risks of batteries and providing a base of informing policy and regulatory developments
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4. NSW GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR PROJECTS TO TRIAL THE MANAGEMENT OF END-OF-LIFE SOLAR PANEL AND BATTERIES

Phase 1 of the Circular Solar Trials grant program, administered by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, offered up to $2 million for eligible projects to trial the management of end-of-life solar panel and batteries using a whole of supply chain approach. This was open for applications last year, and the successful grantees are pending public announcement. The Circular Solar webpage will be updated once the successful projects are announced.

This funding is part of a NSW Government election commitment which dedicated $10 million towards activities that reduce the landfilling of solar panels and their associated batteries. The remaining funds under the Circular Solar program are expected to be released as Phase 2 in the coming months. The priorities of the Phase 2 Circular Solar grant program will likely include funding new recycling and/or reuse infrastructure, recovery logistics and research and market development. To be informed of the upcoming Phase 2 and other funding opportunities, email the Waste and Recycling Infrastructure Unit on  infrastructure.grants@epa.nsw.gov.au.

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5. APPOINTMENT OF NEW ABRI TREASURER, CHRIS TANGEY

Daryl Moyle, the ABRI Treasurer, has resigned as he is moving on from Ecocyle. ABRI wishes Daryl all the best and many thanks for his contribution to the ABRI Executive Committee.
Chris Tangey of Ecycle Solutions has been appointed as the new ABRI Treasurer, effective 21 June. Chris is a CPA:
  • has over 35 years’ experience in senior management roles including Brambles, Spotless, Linfox and Fletcher Building.
  • 6.5 years as General Manager of a co-reg arrangement for the National TV and computer recycling scheme – 100% compliant to NTCR regulations each and every year.
  • Largest polystyrene recycler in Australia
  • Ecycle Solutions parent company – QLS Logistics has the ability to deliver a National Logistics framework – provision of knowledge and structure of best practice collection framework.
  • Passionate and energetic endeavour to achieve the outcomes and objectives of ABRI
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