Australians drain the life from more than 400 million batteries each year. Less than 5% are recycled, and our consumption of batteries is increasing year to year.
When dumped in landfill, batteries can leak a range of toxic substances, including lead, mercury and cadmium, into the environment.
To counter this, Ecocycle is leading the way in battery recycling in Australia. Our approach is to:
- Accept all types of batteries. There’s nothing to think about – if it’s a battery, we’ll recycle it.
- Simplify collection. From pre-paid collection buckets suitable for just about any workplace to skips and stillages for large volumes of big batteries, we’ve got the logistics of battery collection covered.
- Automate sorting. Automated sorting is the key to increasing the value of recovered batteries, to reduce the overall cost of battery recycling and to improve the safety of the entire recycling chain.
- Provide safe storage and processing. We are investing in state-of-the-art facilities to ensure the safe storage of batteries as they wait for recycling, and seek to maximise the volume of batteries that are recycled within Australia.
Before batteries can be directed to the correct recycling stream they need to be sorted. Ecocycle is investing in state-of-the-art sorting systems to automate this process. Computer-controlled sorting machines separate batteries according to size and chemistry, and do so far more quickly, accurately and efficiently than manual sorting.
Some of the less common types of batteries need to be stored until a sufficient quantity is available to make recycling economically viable. To ensure the highest level of safety, our new battery storage facility is being equipped with sensitive fire detection systems, video surveillance and automated fire suppression systems, including fire-fighting foam.
How a particular battery is recycled is mainly dependent on its chemistry. Ecocycle is committed to ensuring that as much battery waste as possible is recycled within Australia. However, the wide range of battery types and materials means that some batteries need to be shipped to specialist facilities overseas.
Alkaline and zinc carbon batteries
By both weight and number, the familiar alkaline and zinc carbon batteries make up the greatest proportion of battery waste. Major components of these batteries include zinc and manganese, both of which are important micronutrients. Much of the material that makes up these batteries can be used as agricultural fertiliser. These batteries can also be used in steel making.
Lead acid batteries
These batteries are highly recyclable and more than 90% of lead acid batteries in Australia are recycled locally. The lead, acid and plastic casings can either be recycled into new batteries or used in other industrial applications.
Button batteries come in a range of substances. Ecocycle recovers both silver and mercury from button cells that contain these metals.
For other types of batteries, a range of metallurgical and chemical processes are used to recover valuable materials.
The important point to remember is that all batteries can be recycled and those that contain toxic metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium must be recycled to prevent harm to the environment.
In a world becoming increasingly reliant on batteries, recycling will also become an ever-increasing source of raw materials for new battery production.
Got batteries to recycle?
Find out how easy it is to recycle your batteries. Give us a call on 1300 32 62 92 or fill in the form below: