Growing concern over batteries going into landfill is starting to be noticed by Governments.
With only 5 per cent of handheld rechargeable batteries in Australia being recycled, there is great scope to create a program that can safely manage unwanted batteries.
Many batteries contain hazardous substances that have the potential to harm people and the environment, and Australia is yet to provide a permanent, national collection and recycling scheme for small, handheld batteries.
Commonwealth, State and Territory Environment Ministers met today in Melbourne to progress work on several environmental matters including battery stewardship.
In relation to batteries, Ministers agreed to consider stewardship approaches at their next meeting. This may include regulatory options to underpin industry-driven voluntary schemes, as well as other options put forward by States and Territories.
The need for a National Rechargeable Battery Recycling Program is clearly recognised by most stakeholders as demonstrated by the work of the Battery Industry Working Group and the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Their two-successful pilot collection and recycling trials in Toowoomba and Brisbane, in which MRI E-cycle Solution was the lead contractor, highlighted the community’s willingness to recycle batteries.
However, further work on how to best prevent free-riders requires more attention. This is why today’s Agreed Statement to consider regulatory options to underpin industry-driven voluntary schemes, is an important step forward.
MRI E-cycle Solutions, Managing Director, Will LeMessurier, noted that major steps had been taken over the last 12 months to engage battery brands and other stakeholders in designing a national solution.
“Industry is very close to achieving a national solution for battery recycling in Australia, through the collaborative approach taken with Government” said Mr LeMessurier.
“Several major battery brands, retailers and the waste industry are poised to make battery stewardship a reality but it’s important that government work with industry to develop a solution that prevents free-riders undermining the stewardship efforts of responsible producers and suppliers”.
Environment Ministers agreed to continue working with the battery industry and acknowledged the work of the Queensland Government for its leadership and funding commitments to-date.
For more information download the Ministers’ Agreed Statement here: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/4f59b654-53aa-43df-b9d1-b21f9caa500c/files/mem6-agreed-statement.pdf
Will LeMessurier, Managing Director, MRI E-cycle Solutions
Mobile: 0419 302 682