The Battery Stewardship Council (BSC), Australia’s official battery product stewardship scheme, has unveiled its plans for a radical increase in participation, alongside a new look public program called B-cycle (Scheme).
In the lead-up to the January 2022 launch of the national public Scheme, B-cycle will be actively pursuing new industry participants such as household battery importers, manufacturers, recyclers, and retailers to join the Scheme. The Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction Trevor Evans said that the Battery Stewardship Council has led the way by being among the first organisations to develop a voluntary product stewardship scheme under the Government’s $26 million Product Stewardship Investment Fund.
“As waste batteries, especially those used in small handheld devices, are one of the fastest growing waste streams, this industry-led scheme will play an essential role in significantly increasing Australia’s battery collections and recycling, and help our circular economy grow. But it will only work if industry plays its part. We must all work together toward Australian consumers soon being able to safely and responsibly manage all types of used batteries at their end-of-life,” said Assistant Minister Evans.
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Libby Chaplin, CEO of the BSC said, “We’re at a pivotal moment, setting in motion a nationwide reset on batteries, preventing harm and creating opportunities along a product’s whole value chain. A whopping 90 per cent of Australia’s handheld batteries brought into the country end up in landfill. Any used batteries not recycled properly and safely can leach toxic chemicals into our environment, or even cause fires in the home when stored. Additionally, despite being a source of valuable and finite resources, battery recycling has remained small-scale in Australia – until now.”
The B-cycle Scheme will lead Australia’s efforts to responsibly manage the recycling of batteries and B-cycle is set to be fully operational with a network of drop-off locations in retail spaces by January 2022. For the program to scale it needs to see a range of sectors getting involved as Chaplin explains, “It’s crucial Australia’s battery importers, collectors and recyclers sign up now and become accredited
participants to take full advantage of the launch.”
The scale of the industries involved is significant including: battery importers, electronic brands utilising batteries – such as power tools, personal care, watches, and photography/drones – battery retailers including supermarkets, and battery collectors/recyclers.
“Being the official Scheme, B-cycle provides robust traceability, assurance collected batteries are recycled in a safe and environmentally sound way, and collected materials placed back into closed-loop systems,” said Chaplin.