The recommitment of funding from the Queensland Government to exitcycle will see better environmental practices adopted, but more leadership from the federal government is required, writes Lighting Council Australia’s Roman Gowor.
Lighting Council Australia (LCA) is relaunching the industry-led battery recycling program, Exitcycle, with support from the Queensland Government to improve the recycling rates of emergency and exit lights.
The voluntary product stewardship initiative developed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and LCA was launched in 2015 as a 12-month pilot project to provide guidance on issues impacting recycling batteries from metropolitan, regional and remote areas.
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Commercial users commit to recycling at least 95 per cent of their end of life emergency and exit lighting batteries as part of the program, while facilitators commit to promoting the scheme to users of these batteries.
LCA National Marketing and Environment Manager Roman Gowor said the program brings industry, government, and community together to improve environmental outcomes, noting that there are approximately 30 million emergency and exit lights across the country.
“The majority of the green-emergency lights we see across all buildings are powered by a combination of older battery technologies, which often use cadmium, nickel metal hydride or sealed lead acid,” Mr Gowor said.
“In the coming years, newer generation batteries will use more sustainable components, however multiple sectors—government, industry and end users— must work together to find the best way of increasing recycling rates.”
The program will be launched at the Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane, with attendees including recyclers, government officials and the lighting industry.
“The Exitcycle approach is successful because it is very well suited at addressing the specific waste issue,” Mr Gowor said.
“Unlike a great proportion of batteries used across the economy, emergency and exit lights are not typically used in households and, by law, can only be serviced by electrical contractors. The Exitcycle program is more targeted than other programs and focuses on electricians and facility and building managers,” he said.