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Queensland puts battery recycling to the test

Five million nickel cadmium batteries end up in landfill in Australia each year

Lighting Council Australia has partnered with Queensland Government in a battery recycling trial. The EXITCYCLE initiative between the Council and Queensland aims to divert emergency and exit lighting batteries from landfill.

The trial, which will run for 12 months, will provide valuable information on collection and recycling issues associated with this class of batteries.

Lighting Council Australia, the body representing Australia’s lighting industry, hopes to turn the pilot scheme into a fully-fledged national voluntary recycling programme at the end of the 12 months trial.

Emergency and exit lighting is used in a wide range of commercial and industrial buildings. Almost all rely on batteries for back-up power. Lighting Council’s CEO, Bryan Douglas, emphasised the importance of the EXITCYCLE initiative: “Around five million nickel cadmium batteries are sent to landfill in Australia each year, which equates to some 90,000 kg of cadmium,” he said.

“When it comes to heavy metals, most attention is focused on mercury. However it should be remembered that in most respects cadmium rivals mercury in its toxicity and potential harm to human health and the environment,” said Douglas.

EXITCYCLE will operate along similar lines to the successful FluoroCycle program run by Lighting Council Australia to recycle mercury-containing lamps.

Private and government sector organisations in Queensland will be approached to become signatories to the scheme. Commercial signatories will commit to recycle all their end-of-life emergency and exit lighting batteries. Facilitator signatories will commit to promote the scheme to users of these batteries.

Image: StockMonkeys.com