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WA leads the way for battery recycling

MORE than 25 tonnes of batteries from Perth homes have been recycled in just six months through a local initiative that has made WA the best battery recycling performer in the nation.

A second shipment of collected batteries is now being prepared for Australia’s only recycling facility in New South Wales.

The recycle bin campaign began last September, with 150 bins placed in prominent locations around the Perth metropolitan area.

The bins enabled people to easily drop off their old household batteries and stop them from going straight to landfill.

Southern Metropolitan Regional Council chairman Tony Romano said the community initiative involved all the regional councils in Perth and was the first of its kind in Australia.

“It is estimated over 18 million household batteries are thrown away in WA each year,” Cr Romano said.

“By separating your batteries from ordinary household rubbish, these valuable resources can be recycled into a range of new products, such as street lights and car parts, rather than go to waste.”

AusBatt, an offshoot of NSW company AusZinc, was recently established to recycle dry-cell batteries in Australia.

AusBatt development manager Darryl Moore said Perth was by far the best performer when it came to collecting batteries for recycling, providing a quarter of the 100 tonnes recycled in the past year.

But more can be done and the relatively small volumes of batteries collected nationally is not yet enough to justify the construction of a dedicated recycling plant.

Less than 100 tonnes is collected in Australia annually, with up to 10,000 tonnes of dry-cell batteries believed to end up in landfill.

“We are not limited by processing, we are limited by our ability to collect batteries,” Mr Moore said. “But the tonnage is really encouraging for us in Perth.”

He said 80 per cent of batteries collected contained valuable zinc and were recycled in Australia.

The remaining 20 per cent was shipped overseas for a different recycling process.

The Dry Cell Battery Working Group runs the recycling campaign in WA and is made up of representatives from the Forum of Regional Councils.

Grant funding will continue until the end of June next year and the regional councils are now looking for future funding.

Source: In My Community

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