How EXITCYCLE and Ecocycle are recycling batteries from building exit signs
November 8, 2016
Illuminated exit signs are a critical safety feature of most commercial buildings.
If the power goes out or in an emergency, the light from these signs may truly be a lifesaver.
However, emergency and exit lighting does have a dark side. About 90% of the batteries that power these lights are nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd), meaning they are amongst the most hazardous of all batteries.
Cadmium is the big problem. An estimated five million Ni-Cd batteries containing about 90 tonnes of this toxic heavy metal end up in landfill each year. Yet the solution is simple. Recycling batteries from exit signs ensures the cadmium is recovered for re-use rather than ending up in landfill.
However, with just 10% of these nickel cadmium batteries being recycled, active programs are required to boost this rate.
EXITCYCLE is a voluntary product stewardship initiative that aims to boost the recycling rates of batteries from exit signs and emergency lighting. It is a partnership between the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Lighting Council Australia.
Emergency lighting needs to be tested every six months, and the batteries are often replaced during these inspections.
EXITCYCLE aims to recruit private sector and government organisations to the scheme and have them commit to recycling at least 95% (preferably 100%) of their emergency and exit lighting batteries. While licensed electrical contractors do the battery replacements, the organisations that engage them can insist on battery recycling as part of the service contract.
EXITCYCLE is modelled on the successful FluoroCycle scheme that is working to boost the recycling rate of mercury-containing fluorescent lighting.
So far, EXITCYCLE has been operating as a one-year pilot program in Queensland. However, the expectation is that it will expand to a national program. Key participants include building occupiers, battery collectors and recyclers, electrical contractors, lighting suppliers, government departments and peak bodies.
Recycle exit sign batteries anywhere, anytime
The more organisations that know about EXITCYCLE and get on board, the better. But there’s no need for businesses, government departments and electrical contractors to wait for the program to go national.
Ecocycle is a collector and recycler signatory to EXITCYCLE, but as a long-standing battery recycler we already offer nationwide collection programs for a wide variety of batteries.
So, if your organisation is ready to start recycling batteries from exit signs or other sources, we’re ready to supply the solution.
Call us on 1300 32 62 92 or fill in the form below to find out how easy it is to recycle your exit and emergency lighting batteries.