Urgent call to dispose of used batteries safely
8 November 2023 – Association for the Battery Recycling Industry (ABRI) has made an urgent call for households to safely dispose of batteries following the launch of a national campaign aimed at reducing the risk of injury to young children and fire.
B-cycle, Australia’s battery stewardship scheme, launched the campaign along with research which shows, 55 per cent of adults are incorrectly disposing recyclable batteries into household bins and 79% of Australians are unaware of taping as a crucial measure when recycling their batteries.
ABRI CEO Katharine Hole said the research was disturbing given the safety implications, including the risk of injury to young children and fire.
“The dangers associated with button batteries and small children is well-documented, with numerous children reporting every week to hospitals, often suffering severe internal injuries after swallowing a used battery,” Ms Hole said.
“Batteries do not belong in household bins – they are fire hazard, particularly when dumped into a garbage truck.
“The simple act of taping up batteries – which makes them safer – and dropping them off for recycling can make a huge difference.”
It is estimated that 5.7 million used batteries are lying around in homes.
Batteries that go to landfill leach toxic materials into the environment.
Following these tips can keep Aussies safe:
- Taping used batteries makes them harder to swallow or insert.
- If ingested, the tape limits the caustic burn and gives health staff more time to save the child’s life.
- Taping over the terminals of batteries helps prevent them from short-circuiting.
- Keeping batteries out of regular waste and recycling bins helps prevent waste stream fires and stops batteries going to landfill.
- Recycling gets used batteries out of our homes and into safe hands so they can be made into something new.
There is a growing demand for recycled batteries, so disposing of them properly does make a difference.
“It is creating a new industry to supply Australian manufacturing with low carbon minerals and importantly boosting critical minerals security,” Ms Hole said.
“Recovering minerals from lithium batteries reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% compared with mining virgin materials.
“Batteries are the leader when it comes to delivering circular economy goals – around 95% of materials can be recovered for alternative use or turned into new batteries.”
B-cycle has over 4000 easily accessible battery drop off points across the country in retail stores such as ALDI, Bunnings, Battery World, Coles, Officeworks and Woolworths. To find your local B-cycle drop off point and for more battery safety information go to bcycle.com.au