NWRIC calls for regulatory battery product stewardship scheme

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) has called for a regulated product stewardship program for batteries by 2020.

It has called on the Federal Environment Minister to broaden the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) to include all types of handheld batteries up to five kilograms.

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Under the NTCRS, more than 1800 collection services are available to the public which could be used to include batteries, according to NWRIC.

Lithium ion batteries pose hazards in kerbside recycling bins, potentially leading to spontaneous combustion if pierced due to mechanical handling in waste collection trucks and recycling facilities.

Lithium, nickel, lead and cadmium are finite resource in waste batteries that can be highly recyclable if correctly separated.

According to the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative only three per cent of batteries are recycled, with 70 per cent being sent to landfill.

NWRIC said that such a low recycling rate means regulator intervention is the only option.

“With a combination of sensible regulation, targeted investment and consumer education, almost all of Australia’s used batteries can be safely recycled. This would reduce the risk of fires at recycling facilities and minimise the contamination of compost,” NWRIC said in a release.

Tenders open for WA container deposit scheme coordinator

The WA Government is seeking applications for a scheme coordinator to implement its container deposit scheme (CDS).

A scheme co-ordinator will establish and operate the collection network and will be responsible for managing the scheme’s finances.

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The successful applicant will be a not-for profit company and be appointed by WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

New refund points and container sorting and processing plants will create 500 jobs across regional and metropolitan WA.

The scheme is part of the state government’s undertaking to reduce waste, which includes a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags and a review of the state’s waste strategy.

Applications are open on the Tenders WA website and will close on 5 December 2018. The scheme will commence in early 2020.

Mr Dawson said Western Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of a container deposit scheme with 97 survey respondents supporting the scheme.

“Appointment of the scheme co-ordinator is a crucial step in the rollout of this container deposit scheme, and I look forward to working with the successful candidate to deliver the best scheme for all Western Australians,” he said.

Planning for national solar panel product stewardship underway

Research for a national product stewardship program for photovoltaic systems, which include solar panels, is underway.

Research for a national product stewardship program for photovoltaic systems, which include solar panels, is underway.

Sustainability Victoria has appointed product stewardship consultant Equilibrium to analyse and assess potential options for a national product stewardship to help manage end of life products.

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Photovoltaic (PV) panels and associated products and equipment have been identified as a rapidly growing e-waste stream in the future. For the project, “PV systems” have neem defined to include panels and PV system accessories such as inverter equipment and energy storage systems.

Equilibrium has opened an online survey to gather input and information form manufacturers, installers, project developers, the energy industry, and peak bodies.

The information gathered by the survey along with other evidence gathered will support the assessment of potential options.

Organisations and individuals interested in the project can complete the survey here.