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About Batteries

Learn more about the types of batteries being used and how best to manage them.

Lithium Batteries – primary (single use)

Lithium batteries are a single use battery that has a metallic lithium anode.  Lithium is used as it is one of the lightest and highly reactive metals.   Compared with other primary batteries, lithium batteries have a much longer life, have a low self discharge and are lightweight.


  • Lithium batteries are used in a broad range of appliances such as portable electronic devices, medical equipment, watches, cameras, smoke alarms.


  • Components vary, however the most common is the Lithium Manganese Dioxide battery.  The most common components include lithium, manganese dioxide (electrolyte) and electrolytic salts and solvent.


  • Lithium batteries are recyclable. They can be mixed with other battery types in the collection container as long as certain packaging requirements are met (see below).

How can we recycle safely?

As a precautionary measure to minimise the risk of short circuit, consumers are encouraged to tape over the terminals of any lithium based batteries (including button cells).  Any lead wires should be removed or the bare wire ends covered in sticky tape.

If larger quantities are being recycled, it is important to develop a risk assessment and management strategy before any activity involving collection or transport of lithium batteries is carried out.

Legal requirements for collectors

  • Lithium batteries are classified as Dangerous Goods and should be stored, packed and transported in accordance with the Australian Dangerous Goods Code and legislation.
  • Transport of lithium batteries by air is restricted – for more information go to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website.

Note: The information provided here is general in nature. Organisations must do their own research to understand their legal obligations and to ensure that they are fully compliant.

UN Number

  • 3090

Transport packaging labels required by the Australian Dangerous Goods Code

Packaging for transport

  • The Australian Dangerous Goods Code includes special provisions and packaging instructions for used and damaged Lithium batteries.

Health and safety

  • Follow manufacturers’ guidelines for safe handling and storage.