When cleaning up or decluttering your home, you are bound to come across a hoard of old batteries that no longer work, whether it’s a drawer full or scattered throughout toys and appliances.
Many people frequently throw out their old batteries in their general waste bin. However, the composition of batteries contains heavy metals and harsh chemicals which are threatening to the environment when they end up in general waste landfills.
When batteries have reached their end of life and end up in general landfills, the chemicals inside can leak from their casing, polluting the land and water. This is harmful to animals and humans who make contact with the toxic substances.
Did you know?
Batteries are supposed to be recycled; however, reports show that as many as 97% of all batteries end up in our general waste landfills. That equates to approximately 8,000 tonnes of batteries every year. Yet, although batteries should be recycled, Australia does not currently have a national recycling scheme for disposable batteries. In fact, the only batteries that can be recycled normally are lead-acid batteries, which are used in cars. All other kinds of batteries are shipped overseas to be recycled.
So what can you do?
There are several ways that you can ensure the safety of the environment by disposing of batteries correctly.
Recycle your batteries
Because Australia doesn’t currently have a recycling scheme for non-rechargeable batteries, old batteries should not actually be disposed in your kerbside recycling bin, or in your general waste bin.
So where do you dispose of them?
Recently, leading members of the battery industry have joined together to form the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI). This group have enlisted a number of businesses and outlets as drop-off locations to help contribute to the safe disposal and recycling of old batteries. Such outlets include Battery World and Aldi. For more information about where your closest battery drop-off location is, head to Planet Ark’s RecyclingNearYou website.
Choose rechargeable batteries
Many of the batteries that end up in landfills are those that have only been used once.
In order to reduce the number of batteries ending up in landfills and harming the environment, buy rechargeable batteries instead. Over time, rechargeable batteries have been considered inconvenient as they had to be charged prior to use and did not last very long. However, although they may lose their charge eventually, the technology of rechargeable batteries means you can reuse them over and over again.
This means there will be little to no need for worrying about how to dispose of them correctly. Using rechargeable batteries has other advantages such as:
- Reducing hazardous and harmful waste from ending up in general landfills.
- Reducing the environmental impacts caused by batteries when not recycled properly.
- Reducing the environmental impacts caused by transporting large volumes of one-use disposable batteries around the world.
Next time you come across old, non-rechargeable batteries, set them aside and make time to take them down to your nearest drop off point. For the occasions where you are undertaking large jobs such as decluttering your home or moving out, we understand it can be tempting to throw your old batteries into your Just Skips skip bin along with all your other junk.
Be sure to read up on our waste types guide before you do so. Electronic waste is increasingly being thrown away along with the batteries inside, but at Just Skips, it is important to us that your waste is disposed of correctly when you hire a skip and does not harm you or the environment.