In Australia, over two thirds of the 350 million batteries purchased each year are sent to landfill. This makes them the most common form of hazardous waste.
You can't put batteries in your rubbish or recycling bin
Most batteries contain hazardous materials that can pollute the environment when disposed of in landfills or when thrown out elsewhere. Materials like lead, cadmium and mercury can poison people and animals and contaminate soils and water, and they stay in the environment for a long time.
Discarded batteries also pose a safety risk in garbage trucks as they can start fires.
Sending batteries to landfill is a huge waste of valuable resources. If recycled, 95% of the components of a battery can be turned into new batteries or used in other industries.
Battery recycling options
What gets recycled
The acid found in batteries can be recycled and used to form sodium sulphate, which is used in the manufacture of detergents, glass and textiles.
The nickel from batteries can be recycled and used to produce stainless steel.
Other materials recycled from batteries can be used to produce new batteries, fertilisers, rubbish bins and plant pots.
What happens to the batteries
Batteries are sorted by chemistry type. They are then sent on to the respective recyclers in Australia and overseas.
Australia currently does not have the technology and services required to recycle rechargeable and single use batteries so they will be processed overseas by a company specialising in the recovery of nickel, cadmium, lithium, zinc and other precious resources to strict environmental standards.