Battery recycling

Safety, Batteries

Tuesday 18 October, 2016

Batteries used for aviation applications may be of either the primary (single use) type or the secondary (rechargeable) type. Any battery intended for use as a power source for equipment installed or routinely carried on aircraft must not only be safe but ideally have a high energy density, be lightweight, reliable, require minimal maintenance, and be able to operate efficiently over a wide environmental envelope.

Battery manufacturers continue to develop new technologies in an attempt to achieve these ideals but in many cases, compromises in these non-safety objectives are necessary and in some cases, safety implications of new designs have been overlooked, particularly in respect of the rapidly increasing use of Lithium batteries (refer to the Lithium Iron Phosphate battery factsheet).

Why should I recycle?

The materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, lithium, manganese, nickel and zinc that are used to make batteries are all non-renewable, however can be recycled an indefinite number of times.                  

Some of these materials (particularly lead, cadmium and mercury) are potentially hazardous to human health and the environment. Disposing of these in landfill means that there is a risk of heavy metals leaching into surrounding groundwater and surface water which is hazardous not only to people but to wildlife as well.

Who is responsible for recycling batteries?

Battery recycling is a shared responsibility between consumers, battery manufacturers, retailers, governments and recyclers.                                  

Consumers are responsible for taking their used or unwanted batteries to a collection point for recycling.

Manufacturers of batteries have a social responsibility to minimise the environmental impacts of their products throughout their life cycle, including at end of life.        

Retailers that sell batteries or battery-powered devices are starting to offer recycling services to their customers.                                                                        

The battery recyclers have a responsibility to comply with all legal requirements and to operate according to best practice standards.                                        

State governments and local councils also have a responsibility to manage the risks associated with hazardous products in landfill, including batteries, by supporting recycling programs.    

Where can I recycle my batteries?               

Many councils provide drop off sites or offer regular collections for batteries and hazardous waste.      
There are also a number of retailers providing this service to their customers.