Batteries are the most common form of hazardous waste disposed of by Australian households, with 97% ending up among usual rubbish collection in landfill. It is estimated that each year over 18 million household batteries are thrown away in Western Australia alone.
As useful as batteries are they unfortunately contain toxic substances which can be harmful if released into the environment. They can also be a fire risk if disposed of incorrectly. Batteries contain valuable metals that can be recycled and used in a range of new products, such as street lights and car parts.
Why shouldn't I put batteries in my household rubbish bins?
Batteries should not be disposed of in the general household rubbish green lid bin. Batteries placed in these bins may end up at a composting facility and cause contamination.
They also will not be recycled if they go into the yellow top recycling bin as the processes at these recycling plants don't recycle items like batteries.
Where can I dispose of batteries?
Mindarie Regional Council’s vision is ‘Winning back Waste’ and it encourages residents to recycle their batteries. They are just one of the many items that can be dropped off for free at the Tamala Park Recycling Centre
. All batteries will be accepted.
Old household batteries can also be dropped off at community collection locations throughout the Perth metro area. The following batteries can be disposed of: AA, AAA (single use or rechargeable), C, D, button batteries, 9V and 6V.
This community initiative is the first of its kind in Australia and gives everyone the ability to recycle common household batteries at a range of convenient locations. The initiative is being administered by the MRC in co-ordination with the other four metropolitan regional councils and is supported by the Waste Authority.
What happens to the batteries?
The batteries are stored at Tamala Park and regularly combined with a metropolitan-wide shipment sent to a specialised facility in Australia for sorting. The batteries are then exported to battery recycling facilities where the components and metals are separated, melted and are then recycled into new products such as street lights, new batteries, car parts and steel frames for houses.
The people of Perth have embraced the recycling of batteries with tonnes of batteries collected each year across the Perth metropolitan area and sent for recycling.
What else can I do to help?
- Check to see if you already have batteries on hand before purchasing more.
- When appropriate, buy hand operated items that function without batteries.
- Look for batteries that have less mercury and other heavy metals.
- Consider using rechargeable batteries (also known as secondary batteries) and battery chargers (only for rechargeable batteries).