Joint media release - Australia's first national battery recycling scheme

2 October 2020

Australian consumers will soon see an end to one of Australia’s biggest recycling challenges after the country’s two largest domestic battery suppliers committed to the industry led Australian Battery Stewardship Scheme.

The decision highlights the importance of the Morrison Government’s product stewardship legislation introduced to the House in September, which put a greater emphasis on manufacturers and business sectors taking greater responsibility for the entire lifecycle of the goods they produce.

“Currently, around 16,650 tonnes of waste batteries (the equivalent of 810 million AA batteries), go to landfill every year, but securing the support of global manufacturers Duracell and Energizer for the national recycling scheme is a key step towards the establishment of a circular battery economy.

“Batteries are everywhere in our modern world but what many of us don’t recognise is the significant hazard they can represent in landfill and in everyday recycling facilities,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said today.

“Supported by the Morrison Government’s recycling agenda, the Australian Battery Stewardship Council has worked to secure key industry participation and has ensured ACCC authorisation to operate the scheme.

“Batteries have sat on the Ministerial priority product list since 2013. The decision by Energizer and Duracell to now come on board sends a strong signal to industry and to consumers that it is time to recycle”.

“We need to see all industry sectors focussing on a circular economy that will create new jobs, grow the economy and reduce pressure on the environment.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said that the more batteries we recycle through the circular economy, the more we reduce the adverse environmental impacts and the more we leverage waste as an asset.

“The Morrison Government wants to see batteries join computers, televisions and mobile phones – all of which have had successful product stewardship schemes in place - delivering positive environmental and economic outcomes,” he said

“This announcement follows strong leadership and investment by the federal government on recycling, including $20 million to turbo-charge voluntary product stewardship schemes.

“The federal government had signalled its expectation that industry take action, and we are delighted that industry, and in this case two major international brands, have now risen to the challenge ahead.”

In welcoming the announcement, the Chair  of the Battery Stewardship Council, Mr Gerry Morvell, said “The scheme will build a domestic battery recycling industry to add industrial growth and employment in the expanding waste management industry in Australia”.

Chief Executive Officer from the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association, Mr Ian McAlister, said: “This is an excellent outcome which represents consensus and goodwill by all stakeholders, and gives confidence in the successful implementation of the scheme.”

Both ministers congratulated the Battery Stewardship Council for reaching this important milestone, and encouraged all Australians to recycle their batteries under the new scheme when it is operational.

“This new industry-led scheme for batteries in Australia is another key step in the Morrison Government’s commitment to move towards a more circular economy and more environmentally sustainable practices by industry,” said Minister Ley.