Nov 15, 2023
min read

Unlocking the Power of Battery Recycling in Melbourne

Unlocking the Power of Battery Recycling in Melbourne
Ginger Krentz
Freelance writer
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In today's tech-driven world, our reliance on electronic devices is ever-growing, and so is the concern surrounding electronic waste (e-waste).

Unlocking the Power of Battery Recycling in Melbourne

Battery Recycling Melbourne: A Step Towards Sustainability

In today's tech-driven world, our reliance on electronic devices is ever-growing, and so is the concern surrounding electronic waste (e-waste).

From old mobile phones to rechargeable batteries and lead-acid batteries from cars and power tools, these items often contain toxic materials that threaten the environment and human health.

However, not all batteries are created equal, especially when it comes to dealing with them when they reach the end of life.

The Growing E-Waste and Battery Challenge

Australia is no stranger to the challenge of e-waste management, generating substantial electronic waste annually. The surge in electronic consumption, coupled with rapid technological advancements, has resulted in a growing pile of discarded electronic devices and batteries.

The disposal of old car batteries and other electronic waste, if not managed properly, can lead to severe environmental consequences.

Improper disposal of e-waste in landfill sites can release hazardous waste and toxic metals into the environment, leading to environmental degradation and increasing carbon emissions.

Increasingly, we see batteries embedded in these electronic devices that are difficult or impossible to remove.

As the battery casing corrodes, chemicals leach into the soil and make their way into our water supply. Eventually, they reach the ocean. Lithium in batteries reacts in a volatile way when exposed; lithium can even cause landfill fires that can burn underground for years.

The Problem with Battery Waste

In lead-acid battery manufacturing, sulphuric acid is used to activate the lead elements of the lead battery to get the power effect.

If lead-acid batteries are disposed of in a solid waste landfill or illegally dumped, the lead and sulfuric acid can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, potentially affecting the quality of our drinking water supply.

This may come as a surprise to you, but no battery should ever be put in your normal household bin- even if it is a recycling bin!

Mixing batteries with other waste can cause fires and is a hazard for the people and organisations who have to manage waste.

B-cycle logo

Australia's Battery Stewardship Scheme

Australia now has an official battery recycling scheme called B-cycle which was launched in 2022.

It is estimated that only 10% of used handheld batteries are collected for recycling in Australia, prior to B-cycle initiating their free collection services. This is low by international standards and means that 90% are going to landfills or disposed of incorrectly.

B-cycle estimates that approximately 150 million household batteries are ready for recycling across Australia. However, 63% of people threw batteries into their household bins before b-cycle launched.

The BSS considers that the cost of collecting and sorting batteries is the most significant barrier to developing an effective battery recycling regime in Australia.

The BSS operates through imposing a levy on imported batteries. This is passed on to consumers in battery prices.

Unfortunately, Australia is still not regulating the disposal of Li-Ion battery waste and this is a huge point for improvement.

Recycling Batteries for a Sustainable Future

Recycling batteries plays a pivotal role in waste reduction and the responsible use of finite natural resources. This encompasses batteries from mobile phones, household devices, rechargeable batteries, and even old car batteries. The recycling process involves:

  • The safe disposal of used batteries
  • The extraction of valuable materials
  • The reduction of environmental impacts associated with hazardous waste

Batteries are a risk to human health and the environment if disposed of inappropriately.

They also contain valuable metals such as cadmium, zinc, mercury, manganese, cobalt and rare earth metals that may be recovered to reduce the use of finite natural resources.

How to Recycle the Different Battery Types Safely

The B-cycle program can safely handle:

  • Standard-size handheld batteries used to power household items, including AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, 6V lantern etc. 
  • Small coin-sized batteries used to power devices such as hearing aids, remote controls, watches, etc. 
  • Standard-size handheld rechargeable batteries of all chemistry types up to 5kg 
  • Batteries in products that can be removed by the consumer, such as those found in power tools and digital cameras.

These types of batteries have to be treated differently:

  • Mobile phone batteries can be recycled through Mobile Muster
  • Laptop or TV batteries can be recycled through the NTCRS
  • Lead Acid (old Car Battery/used car batteries) recyclers can be found using ABRI
  • Exit Lighting (Emergency Lighting) can be recycled through ExitCycle

Do's and Don'ts of Storing Batteries for Recycling


  • Use a cardboard or plastic container to collect batteries (batteries are heavy so the container needs to be strong).
  • Keep the collection container away from children (this removes the risk of swallowing and contact with chemicals).
  • Label the box or bag properly so every member of your household knows what the content is, e.g. “BATTERIES FOR RECYCLING”.
  • Store your batteries in a cool, dry place.
  • Protect against short circuits by taping over the terminals of any lithium-based batteries (including button cells) and any batteries that have both terminals on one side (e.g. 9V). If a battery has lead wires, these should be removed, or the bare wire ends covered in sticky tape.


  • Don't use an airtight container (to avoid a possible build-up of pressure).
  • Don't use a metal container (to avoid the risk of short circuits).
  • Don't mix household batteries with lead-acid batteries, e.g. from cars or motorbikes.
  • Don't damage or hide the label (the recycler will need to identify the battery).
  • Don't store batteries near chemicals, food or produce.
  • Don't store batteries outside or in a humid place (they need to remain dry).
  • Don't store large quantities of batteries (e.g. no more than a one-litre container at any time).
  • Don't store batteries near a heat source (e.g. in the sun or close to the oven).
  • Don't touch leaking or damaged batteries (use gloves), and clean up any spilled material carefully.

Do You Have a Damaged Battery?

Batteries that are bulging, corroded, leaking, or showing burn marks are dangerous and can also cause fires.

Package the battery or device in a non-flammable material such as sand or kitty litter as soon as possible and take them to a waste management centre or hazardous household waste collection point for disposal.

Drop off your collected batteries regularly (store for a maximum of 6 months).

Why Opt for Battery Recycling?

Battery recycling serves as a crucial step in reducing waste and lessening the environmental footprint of hazardous waste while championing the reuse of valuable resources. By responsibly disposing of your batteries, you actively contribute to a cleaner environment and reduce carbon emissions linked to landfill disposal.

The Role of Local Council

Local councils across Australia have recognized the urgency of addressing e-waste concerns. They've joined forces with sustainability initiatives like Sustainability Victoria and the Victorian government to establish vital drop-off points for battery recycling. These collaborative efforts simplify residents' contributions to waste reduction and environmental protection.

Where to Find Battery Recycling Locations

For your convenience, numerous locations, including Aldi stores and Officeworks stores, now offer dedicated drop-off points for battery recycling. These establishments make it easy for you to recycle batteries, whether they're from mobile phones, power tools, or household devices.

With over 3,200 drop-off points across Australia, sending your battery waste to the right place has never been easier.

As a consumer, you have a crucial role to play. Make sure you correctly dispose of your batteries at drop-off points located at:

  • retailers
  • supermarkets
  • local government facilities.
ReSource's AI powered X-ray Battery Sorter

ReSource's Australian-First Solution to Battery Recycling

Until recently, when your batteries ran flat or no longer held a charge, you had only two choices: illegally toss them in a landfill where they’ll leach toxic chemicals into the ground and water or send them to a recycler who uses an inefficient, polluting smelter, capturing little material for reuse.

Fortunately, Victoria has a new, eco-friendly choice for battery recycling: ReSource.

Home to the first AI-powered x-ray sorter for mixed batteries in the southern hemisphere for maximum material recovery, ReSource makes it simple and safe to dispose of your batteries as a B-Cycle Accredited vendor.

And, unlike other battery recyclers, we can safely process any batteries, including Li-ion batteries, thanks to advanced fire suppression tech. By not using smelting methods, we use 1/25th the energy of traditional recyclers.

In Conclusion

Battery recycling is a straightforward yet impactful strategy to combat e-waste and mitigate the environmental consequences of hazardous materials. By utilizing the provided drop-off points and transfer stations, courtesy of local councils and sustainability organizations, you can securely dispose of old batteries while contributing to a more sustainable future for Australia and the world.

Together, we can drive positive change, ensuring the safe recycling of batteries and championing environmental responsibility and resource conservation.

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