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Update on Industry Working Group for handheld batteries

The Battery Industry Working Group (IWG) has met five times since it was formed in 2015. The aim of the IWG is to design a voluntary national stewardship program for handheld rechargeable batteries. It is co-chaired by Rose Read (formerly AMTA and currently with MRI Drop Zone) in an independent capacity and Rowan Hodge (Battery World).
The rechargeable battery program will fit under an overarching battery product stewardship scheme.
There may be several programs under the scheme, for example batteries collected as part of existing e-waste or mobile phone programs and mixed rechargeable battery collections. Performance indicators, a reporting framework, communication and data collection will be established under the scheme to provide for consistent information and messaging.
Two pilot programs are currently underway to inform the national process:
– The power tool battery recycling pilot, which was launched on Father’s Day 2015 and will run until the end of June 2016. Power tool batteries are being collected at 19 hardware store locations in the Brisbane metropolitan area.
– The emergency lighting batteries program launched in October 2015, which is being managed by the Lighting Council Australia. This is collecting and recycling emergency lighting batteries from commercial buildings.
A third trial is proposed to be held in mid-2016 in Queensland to collect further information on costs, the ability of consumers to separate rechargeable from primary batteries, battery brands, the mix of battery chemistries, and dangerous goods compliance.
A progress report will be provided to Environment Ministers in mid-2016 with a final report due for the last meeting of 2016 or first meeting 2017.