Wondering what to do about your old car batteries?
What about your old phone batteries, or even your AA's??
Recycling your old batteries is an important aspect of reducing the heavy metals and acids that enter our landfills. These metals, which can include Mercury, eventually enter the ecosystem through the ground water tables. Once these elements have leached into the environment, they can enter the food stream either through crops, or fish.
Diverting the waste from landfill is important - so what are the options?
Mobile Phones and Batteries:
www.mobilemuster.com are the self proclaimed "Official Recycling Program Of The Mobile Phone Industry." The site has a facility where you can enter your postcode and locate your nearest mobile phone recycler. Note: Your computer must have Pop Up's enabled to use this service. They also offer a free postage service. Simply click the link and print the document.
In addition, major phone network shop fronts like Telstra, Virgin, Vodafone and Optus, retail outlets Dick Smith and Harvey Norman and Banks (ANZ) have recycling bins or collection points positioned within the store. Simply deposit your old phone into the bin.
Clean Up Australia also offers and mobile phone collection and recycles programs. Call 1800 282 329 or visit www.cleanup.com.au and organise for a postage-paid satchel to be mailed to you.
Unfortunately, Australia is lagging behind other countries when it comes to recycling car batteries. Where as a lot of European countries have the facilities to recycle the cadmium in Nickel Cadium rechargeable batteries (NiCads) are fully recyclable, this service is not yet available down under. As a result, currently the only safe option is to contact your local waste management centre and arrange a drop off. Contact your local council to centre locations. Alternatively, contact your local mechanic, car battery retailer or service station and ask if they will take the battery for you.
Having said all that, an up and coming organisation called Orbitas claims to be a "national collection network with working relationships with lead acid and alkaline [car batteries] recycling plants in Australia." While the website is a little frustrating (some links didn't work and they only listed one recycling depot in Australia) the site, links and recycling depots will hopefully develop in time to achieve this national collection network. The site also contains some interesting information about the handling, 'recyclability' and other information about lead acid batteries. If it all comes together for them, they look to be heading toward becoming Australia's first truly national car battery recycling initiative. It seems certainly worth keeping an eye on the site to see how they progress.
The most common household batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9v) batteries contain Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) which doesn't contain any toxic materials and can therefore be disposed with your household waste. Of course, using rechargeable batteries will mean fewer batteries going to landfill. 6v batteries, while containing Alkiline and Carbon Zinc, can also be disposed of with your household waste. Unfortunately these batteries do not come in a rechargeable version yet. At the time of writing there is no known recycling service for any of these batteries, however members of the battery industry recently got together in an effort to investigate if a national battery collection and recycling program was possible. The results are not yet known.If you are aware of any household battery recycling program or even how the meeting of battery industry people went, please email usand we will update this section.