ABRI urges Environment Ministers to support battery stewardship
The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI) has called on Environment Minister Greg Hunt and all state and territory Ministers to make a strong commitment to battery stewardship when they meet in Melbourne on 15 July. Broad stakeholder support for a national collection and recycling scheme for handheld batteries has reached an all-time high.
The ministers are meeting to consider a recommendation to continue negotiations with industry on a voluntary stewardship scheme for the more than 400 million handheld batteries used in Australia each year.
While ABRI supports continued discussions it also urges Ministers to allow no more than a 6 month period in which to reach agreement. ABRI CEO Helen Lewis says, “We need to see more engagement and a stronger commitment to battery stewardship from leading manufacturers including Energizer and Duracell. Without that commitment a voluntary program will not succeed and there has been minimal support from these manufacturers to date.”
With a recycling rate of only 3% for handheld batteries, Australia lags well behind most developed countries. Legislation that requires manufacturers to take responsibility for battery recycling is already in place in the European Union, Japan, Taiwan, several Canadian provinces and many states in the US. In Switzerland the recycling rate is over 70%.
“Under the current situation state governments, councils, some retailers and consumers are taking responsibility for, and covering the cost of, recycling batteries,” says Lewis. “The big manufacturers should be playing their part too”.
Recycling solutions from the larger battery manufacturers will be welcomed and rewarded by consumers, who now expect such companies to be responsible corporate citizens.
More information on global battery recycling rates is provided in the media release.