Batter(y) to be safe than sorry
10 December 2019

This silly season, the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) is reminding one and all to dispose safely of all batteries.

It may come as a surprise to people to know the number of batteries that are put in household yellow recycling bins. The confusion may come from the fact that batteries are often claimed to be reuseable or rechargeable, however under no circumstances ever do they belong in the household recycling and collection system.

“Yellow bins are only for packaging waste - paper and cardboard, and containers made of glass, plastic, steel and aluminum from your kitchen, bathroom and laundry - nothing else,” said WMRR CEO, Ms Sloan. 

“Nothing else can be recycled through the yellow bin. We need to stop ‘wish cycling’ and hope by some miracle at Christmas time that this can and will occur.”

Batteries are powerhouses that pack a punch. Even at end-of-life, batteries contain valuable resources that can be recycled an indefinite number of times. This is why we should recycle our batteries but never in yellow (recycling) bins. Click here to find a battery recycler in your state and here for more information, including links to state/territory-specific guidance on what can and cannot go into your yellow bin.

If you can’t get to a recycler over the festive season, the last thing you should do is chuck your batteries in the red or yellow bin. For one, batteries can catch fire if they are damaged or overheated. Batteries also have a Jekyll and Hyde existence, the valuable resources they contain – lead, cadmium, mercury, to name a few – are also toxic and can poison people and pollute the environment, from harming animals to contaminating soils and water when they are disposed to landfill. Batteries also remain in the environment for a long time.

So, recycling via the battery collection systems in place is the way to go. Store them in a box away from heat and out of reach of children and once we’re done making merry over the holidays, take them to your nearest battery recycler. But do not, under any circumstances, put them in any of your household bins.

Remember, it’s batter(y) to be safe than sorry.