New research released today by B-cycle, Australia’s government back battery recycling scheme, shows millions of Australians are not aware of the simple safety measure of taping used batteries. Used batteries must be covered with clear sticky tape and never be put in general waste and recycling bins for fire prevention, and child safety.
Currently there are an estimated 5.7 million used batteries in homes across Australia, and with thousands of powered products expected to be purchased in the coming weeks during Black Friday, and the Christmas giving period, there are concerns this number will grow. Experts are warning these batteries are a danger to young children, vulnerable groups, and waste collection providers.
The new data reveals a worrying trend of how people across the country are disposing of used batteries with:
- More than half (55%) of Australians surveyed are still disposing of batteries incorrectly in regular waste or recycling
- 79% of Australians not aware of the important safety step of taping their used
- Just 12% say they immediately tape the exposed terminals when replacing a used household
Experts are reminding Australians of the dangers of handheld batteries. Button batteries a huge safety issue. They power a wide range of devices in our homes and lives; from remote controls, car keys, children’s toys, bathroom scales, and many other devices that flash, glow or make noise. While button batteries appear harmless, they can have a devastating impact when ingested or inserted by small thrown in general waste and recycling bins which causes fires and harms the environment.
- Child safety hazard: Button batteries can cause severe internal caustic burns and death. In Australia, an estimated 20 children per week present to a hospital emergency department suspected of having ingested or inserted a button battery, and of those, one child per month will sustain serious
- Fire risk: Even when a battery appears to have lost its charge it can short-circuit when it other batteries or metal objects, causing dangerous fires.
- Environmental risk: Batteries going into landfill leach toxic materials into the environment. Those materials could be salvaged for reuse by recyclers.
B-cycle CEO Libby Chaplin said, “Since the launch of B-cycle we’ve seen a positive shift and more people are recycling their used batteries, but there a substantial number who aren’t. Millions of batteries are sitting in our homes with the potential to cause serious harm if not disposed of correctly. We are asking Australians to protect their families and communities by simply taping used batteries with clear sticky tape and taking them to their local B-cycle drop off point.”
How taping and recycling help keep Aussies safe:
- Taping used batteries makes them harder to swallow or insert.
- If ingested, the tape limits the caustic burn and gives health staff more time to save the child’s life.
- Taping over the terminals of batteries helps prevent them from short-circuiting.
- Keeping batteries out of general waste and recycling bins helps prevent fires in the waste stops batteries going to landfill.
- Recycling gets used batteries out of our homes, and into safe hands so they can be made into something new.
Emergency paediatrician and Director of the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, Dr Ruth Barker said, “We are surrounded by batteries in our homes and often parents won’t know until it’s too late that their child has ingested or inserted a battery. These incidents are hard to recognise, challenging to treat and can be fatal if not correctly diagnosed quickly. Risk mitigation by taping batteries and keeping them out of reach of children is essential to keeping children safe.”
Chaplin added, “We are seeing an increase in battery related fires across the and this will only continue to grow as batteries remain an integral part of our day to day lives. By recycling them we can ensure they are handled safely by accredited collectors and keep our communities safe.”
Batteries are made of highly recyclable and valuable materials. Since the launch of B-cycle in 2021, collections of used batteries for recycling have almost doubled, ultimately protecting our people and our planet, as well as helping grow Australia’s onshore recycling industry capability for a secure and greener future.
Together we can make a real impact by simply taping our used batteries with clear sticky tape and taking them to a local B-cycle drop off point.
B-cycle has over 4,000 easily accessible Drop off points across the country in retail stores such as ALDI, Bunnings, Battery World, Coles, Officeworks and Woolworths.
To find local B-cycle drop off point and for more battery safety information go to bcycle.com.au
Battery safety checklist:
- Don’t toss them: never put used batteries in your regular waste and recycling bins
- Tape them: cover the battery terminals (the battery ends) with clear sticky tape
- Take them: to your local B-cycle Drop off point or council collection site
Available for interview:
- BSC and B-cycle CEO Libby Chaplin
- State based fire and rescue departments on request
PRESS BANK: HERE
B-cycle launched in 2022 by the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) and is supported by the Commonwealth and all State and Territory Governments and authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It is Australia’s first nationwide, government-backed Battery Stewardship Scheme. A not-for-profit organisation established for the purpose of recycling used batteries, B-cycle is the safe and simple way to help build a world where no battery goes to waste. bcycle.com.au.
ABOUT THE BATTERY STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL
The Battery Stewardship Council was established in 2018 to bring together players from across the battery supply chain to ensure that a robust and well-designed battery stewardship scheme is established. Our mission is to facilitate accessible battery recycling services for consumers in metropolitan and regional areas of Australia through our industry-led B-cycle battery recycling Scheme.
Megan Bentley, email@example.com | 0452 214 611
Corah Fortune, firstname.lastname@example.org | 0405833757