Strong industry and public support is driving exponential growth of Australia’s battery recycling scheme.
In just 18 months, B-cycle, Australia’s official government-backed battery recycling scheme, has increased battery recycling among all Australians by more than 30 per cent and quadrupled the amount of public drop-off points.
These results have been captured in B-cycle’s recently released annual Positive Charge Report, underlining the increased progress and success of the scheme in the past year.
Founded by not-for-profit organisation, the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) and authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), B-cycle is making headway on the issue of battery recycling as one of the nation’s fastest-growing waste streams.
By facilitating the growth of accessible battery recycling services for consumers across Australia, B-cycle has provided more than 4100 drop-off points for people to safely and conveniently recycle everyday loose batteries.
In 2023 alone, Australians will purchase enough equivalent batteries to circle the earth seven times and by 2050, this will increase to 37 times. Batteries contain finite natural materials, and most components are recyclable, so continued growth in recycling is essential to manage this demand.
The 2023 Positive Charge Report reveals in the past year (FY 2022/23):
- B-cycle has shifted consumer behaviour with an increase in battery recycling among all Australians by more than 30 per cent.
- Australians have recycled 2,375,363 kilograms (2.375 tonnes) of used batteries with B-cycle, nearly doubling the rate of collected batteries prior to the scheme’s inception (1.25 tonne in 2021).
- Australians are increasingly motivated to recycle their used batteries; with the B-cycle website servicing more than 90,000 searches for the closest B-cycle drop-off point.
- B-cycle has increased participation with 850 participants hosting accredited drop-off points and more than 100 organisations participating including 54 importers and 28 retailers.
- 90 per cent of the loose battery market and 55 per cent of the power tool market is participating in the scheme.
The Positive Charge Report reflects the commitment of the industry to come together with the Battery Stewardship Council to transform the landscape of battery stewardship in Australia, contributing to a more sustainable future. As the scheme continues to evolve, it is expected to serve as a model for responsible battery recycling globally.
A key priority for the scheme has and will continue to be driving education and awareness about battery safety and fire prevention nationwide.
Unfortunately, battery related fires are rapidly increasing. The report highlights the scheme’s efforts to reduce the risk of fires and button battery injuries including the launch of the Never Bin Your Batteries and This Tape Saves Lives awareness campaigns in October 2023.
Libby Chaplin, B-cycle Chief Executive Officer, said: “Industry participants and the broader public are the driving force behind the success of B-cycle and continued support will be critical to scale the scheme and service Australia’s future demand for batteries.”
“There is great potential to increase Australia’s capacity to contribute to a circular battery supply chain. This report underlines the strong environmental and climate benefits of B-cycle and the recovery of materials from used batteries offering a crucial opportunity in curbing emissions for the battery industry as it continues to rapidly scale both locally and globally.”
The report identified the projection of lithium-based batteries is set to grow to 7.7 million tonnes by 2050 – more than 40 times what is in use today.
“Given that the recycling and and refurbishment infrastructure and capacity is currently insufficient to deal with this forecasted growth in batteries entering the waste stream, it is imperative that industry continues to be pro-active in demonstrating stewardship outcomes to an increasingly aware consumer base,” Chaplin said.
“In 2024 we will resume our engagement with the EV sector to explore stewardship options to ensure we’re prepared as the electrification of the transport sector continues.”
Read the full report HERE.