The voluntary, industry-led product stewardship program is expected to commence in 2013. It will focus on the collection and recycling of primary batteries including alkaline manganese, zinc carbon, lithium batteries up to 2kg, and zinc air, silver oxide, alkaline manganese and lithium button cells. Most consumers won’t distinguish between primary and secondary (rechargeable) batteries, so the stewardship organisation will also need to provide a solution for any rechargeable batteries that end in the collection network.
More information on the RFP is available here.
This builds on the results of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of batteries at end-of-life, which was funded by the same companies in 2010. The LCA concluded that recycling alkaline batteries has the potential to be environmentally beneficial compared to landfill under certain circumstances. For example, it is more likely to be environmentally positive if transport impacts are minimised and if the zinc, manganese and steel content of the batteries are all recycled.