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A quick introduction to battery disposal and management

REMONDIS Integrated and Managed Services // 1 October 2021


Recyclable componentry from batteries is re-used to make new batteries, casings, fertiliser and stainless-steel products


Australian consumers buy over 300 million standalone batteries with another 45 million embedded in product


Australia has the lowest battery recycling rate of any country in the developed world


Battery recycling is essential

Australia has the lowest battery recycling rate of any country in the developed world, despite the rapid increase of them in our laptops, mobile phones, power tools and cars.

Unfortunately – and dangerously – batteries are one of the most common items incorrectly disposed as general waste.

Batteries contain many chemistry types and pose a significant health, safety and environment risk if they are not handled and disposed of in a responsible manner.

Batteries are made up of elements such as cobalt, manganese, nickel, cadmium, zinc, and lithium, which are natural earth elements and in some cases are finite. The uptake of handheld devices and other electronics has really scaled up the use of these resources.

There are two main types of batteries:

  • Primary batteries cannot be recharged and are used in single use, standalone applications. We often see these batteries in toys, watches, hearing aids and calculators
  • Secondary batteries are rechargeable and are used when a consistent power is needed. These batteries are found in our cars, power tools, mobile phones and laptops

Used Lead Acid Batteries

Used Lead Acid Batteries (ULABs) are the earliest type of rechargeable battery used in cars. They are comprised of four high-value components.

In most cases, REMONDIS can organise a rebate for ULABs if your site generates them in regular volumes.

ULAB processing

  • Batteries are collected from your site in a licenced vehicle
  • Then transported to the nearest facility for recycling
  • Acid, plastic and lead recovered for re-use
  • New products are manufactured, such as glass, batteries and textiles
  • Customers purchase these goods

Steps for ULAB transport preparation

  • Wear PPE
  • Keep the ULAB cells upright
  • Stack ULABs no higher than two cells high
  • Use a sheet of non-conductive material between layers
  • Wrap your pallets

ULABs should NOT be mixed with nickel cadmium, lithium or mixed dry cell batteries.

Keep ULABs stored upright on bundled pallets while they await collection. Make sure your batteries are wrapped on a pallet for safe transport.

Let REMONDIS know if you have any damaged batteries on site so we can ensure the transporter is informed and prepared.

What can you do?

  • Talk to your team members about not putting batteries into the general waste bin – no matter how big or small – and organise a specific battery collection system with REMONDIS for your batteries
  • Make sure all cables have been disconnected before transporting batteries
  • Keep used lead acid batteries stored upright on a pallet, on top of a bunded pallet, at all times
  • Make sure all batteries are wrapped on a pallet before they’re transported
  • Store damaged batteries in a clear, heavyweight plastic bag, in a bunded and well-ventilated area.
  • Ensure the transporter is licensed to collect batteries

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