Exciting Battery Recycling Developments

Leading on from Lexie’s last post, today I am going to discuss some exciting developments in the battery recycling process that can make the process more cost affective, and less dangerous.

First up, is Swedish based Optisort who have created a self-learning optical sorting system for end-of-life batteries. Sorting batteries is extremely important, as they each hold different chemicals, and therefore must be recycled differently. Optisort’s classification system can sort up to 20 batteries a second (so fast!). With a 99% accuracy level, what this means is that recycling batteries is now easier than ever.

OnTo Technology is a company based in America that is doing research into the rejuvenation of Lithium-Ion batteries. Their aim is to create safe ways to harvest materials and place them back into service.

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Check out a video from Bloomberg on OnTo here.

With these two technologies, the future for recycling batteries looks relatively easy, environmentally friendly, and ethical.

Do you know of any other developments in the recycling industry?

Also, if you haven’t already, please take part in our poll!

Lilly

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The Potential for a National Scheme

After Lexie’s call to action last post, I thought that I would share some successful schemes that demonstrate the potential for a national recycling program. Through my research for this campaign, I have come across two great state government funded battery recycling schemes.

The strongest local government support for battery recycling is through the Western Australia Government Association (WALGA). From 2008 – 2011, WALGA, Waste Authority and Resource Recovery Levy piloted the Household Hazardous Waste Program. The HHW Program provides Local Governments and Regional Councils with funding to assist with the collection, storage and disposal of HHW – which included almost all kinds of batteries.  In this pilot period more than 658 tonnes of HHW was diverted from landfill and recycled or disposed of safely. Now, the Household Hazardous Waste has 14 permanent drop-off points that are free for the public to use. According to WALGA, batteries cost approximately $2-4/kg to recycle, which includes transport and recycling costs, but may not include in-kind collection costs borne by councils.

Batteryback is a service provided by the Victorian Government offering a free service that recycles old and used household batteries collected at specific Bunnings, Coles, HEARLINK, Michaels Camera, Officeworks and Queens Parade Hardware locations. According to the Batteryback’s website, “the program embraces the principles of product stewardship – to engage industry, retailers and consumers towards a shared responsibility for the collection and recycling of products.” The program has more than 30 locations around the state, and is continuing to expand.

Both of these state government funded programs demonstrate the potential future of recycling batteries in Australia. Both the HHW Program and Batteryback emphasize that a national scheme for recycling batteries is possible, and can be successful, as long as we have the right resources and support.

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions on how to better improve Australia’s used battery recycling opportunities?

– Lilly