B-Cycle of Life

Australia’s official battery recycling scheme

DIYODE Magazine

Issue 52, November 2021

Australia’s official battery recycling scheme ramps up network with new look: B-cycle

Fortunately, many maker projects are powered from 5V or a rechargeable Li-ion/Li-Po battery, avoiding the need for disposable batteries. However, disposable batteries are usually commonplace in many other parts of our lives. How do you dispose of your batteries when they go flat?

We were quite surprised when we learnt that, a whopping 90% of Australia’s handheld batteries end up in landfill. What we also didn’t realise was that batteries contain valuable resources, and for each battery recycled, 95% of its materials can be remade into things we use every day.

Australia does have a small-scale recycling programme, and pleasingly, efforts are underway in Australia by the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) to radically boost the number of batteries recycled by increasing the industry and retail participation, and launching a new-look public program.

The Battery Stewardship Council manages Australia’s official battery product stewardship scheme. On the 21st of September 2021, BSC unveiled its plans to improve industry participation, alongside a new look public program called B-cycle (Scheme).

In the lead-up to the January 2022 launch of the national public Scheme, BSC will be actively pursuing new industry participants such as household battery importers, manufacturers, recyclers, and retailers to join the Scheme. This industry-led, government-backed battery recycling Scheme will play an essential role in significantly increasing Australia’s battery collections and recycling, and help our circular economy grow.

Libby Chaplin, who is the CEO of B-cycle explained that any used batteries not recycled properly and safely can leach toxic chemicals into our environment, or even cause fires in the home when stored. Libby added that, by setting in motion a nationwide reset on batteries, we should be able to prevent harm and create opportunities along a product’s whole value chain.

The B-cycle Scheme will lead Australia’s efforts to responsibly manage the recycling of batteries, and B-cycle is set to be fully operational with a network of drop-off locations in retail spaces by January 2022.

For the program to scale though, it needs to see a range of sectors getting involved. It is crucial that Australia’s battery importers, collectors and recyclers sign up now and become accredited participants to take full advantage of the launch. The industries required to participate is obviously quite broad. B-cycle need battery importers, electronic brands that utilise batteries, battery retailers including supermarkets, and battery collectors/recyclers.

There are already many prominent battery and electronic brands, retailers, and battery collectors who have committed to the B-cycle Scheme, including Bunnings, Canon, Coles, Duracell, EcoBatt, Energizer, Envirostream, Hilti, Honda, Panasonic, Milwaukee, and Woolworths.

Many more participants are encouraged to join, regardless of size or scale. If you are interested in participating, be sure to head over to bcycle.com.au.

For those of us who may be discarding our used batteries in the bin, let’s join forces and make sure our spent batteries end up recycled instead by seeking out participating recycling sites.

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