Partnerships in non –profit stewardship programmes for recycling are growing in Australia, but one program which has really resonated in the US has been the partnership between home improvement retailer, Home Depot and Call2Recycle. Home Depot provides a take-back recycling service at its 2000-plus stores across the USA and Canada. Last year it recycled more than 450 tonnes of rechargeable batteries through its in store program which has been now operating for over 16 years.
ABRI estimates that less than 5% of handheld batteries (by count) are currently recycled at end of life. Around 183 million (8,000 tonnes) are disposed to landfill each year, and this represents a loss of valuable, non-renewable resources.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 96.5% of household batteries are disposed of in general household waste or at the local tip or transfer station. Many batteries also end up in landfill embedded in electrical or electronic products.
The recovery and recycling of batteries will reduce pollution from landfills. As batteries start to break down in landfill, particularly in an acidic environment, heavy metals can leach into surface and groundwater. This is a concern because 15% of large landfills and 65% of medium sized landfills in Australia are unlined.
There is potential to significantly reduce the impact that batteries have on the environment, and on the health and safety of human beings, through increased recycling.
A commitment to succeed.
Recycal and its sister company, CMA Ecocycle, are committed to looking at this important recycling area and are developing new relationships with retail groups to support stronger recycling activity which will assist in increasing the awareness and reducing batteries ending up in landfill.