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Battery Recycling

Batteries are made up of heavy metals and other toxic elements, including nickel, cadmium, alkaline, mercury, nickel metal hydride, and lead acid. It is these elements that can threaten our environment if not properly discarded and/or recycled.

Unfortunately, batteries which end up in landfills and incinerators leak into the environment, causing a serious health risk to humans and animals.

Surprisingly, Australia does not currently have a national recycling scheme for non-rechargeable batteries.

As a result, leading members of the battery industry have recently joined together to investigate the initiation of a national battery collection and recycling scheme. At the moment, the only batteries that can be recycled in the country are lead-acid batteries (used in cars). All other types of batteries are either sent to local landfills or shipped to be recycled overseas.

Download Battery fact sheet (PDF)

What you can do

  • Reduce battery use
  • Use rechargeable batteries (they can be used up to 1000 times, making them a much cheaper and eco-friendly alternative to single-use batteries)
  • Select batteries that can be recycled.

Different types of batteries:

  • Household/single-use (AA, AAA, C and D or alkaline, carbon-zinc, lithium, silver-zinc): can be recycled, avoid landfill if possible
  • Nickel-cadmium (NiCd): used in rechargeable batteries, hazardous waste, must be recycled
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium-ion: used in laptops, non-hazardous waste, can be recycled
  • Button cell: used in hearing aids and watches, contain silver and mercury, hazardous waste, can be recycled
  • Automotive & sealed lead-based: used in car batteries, hazardous waste, can be recycled at auto part retailers or service stations.

For information on where to recycle batteries:

  • Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) - Visit http://batteryrecycling.org.au
  • Batteryback (a free battery recycling program for rechargeable batteries and household single-use batteries)
  • Battery World (collects rechargeable batteries such as nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride or lithium ion): 13 17 60
  • SITA's Battery Recycling Program: (02) 8754 0000
  • Contact your local council or community recycling facility to determine your household battery recycling options.
Download Battery fact sheet (PDF)