battery safety

Why proper battery disposal is important for the upcoming holiday season.

Did you know that the way you dispose of used batteries can have a significant impact on the safety of your family and the environment?

B-cycle, Australia’s government-backed battery recycling scheme, has released crucial research that reveals how millions of Australians may not be aware of the simple safety measure that can make a big difference – taping used batteries.

Currently, there are approximately 5.7 million used batteries in Australian homes, and with the upcoming holiday season, more battery-powered products will enter our households. Unfortunately, over 55% of Australians are still disposing of batteries incorrectly, placing them in regular waste or recycling bins. This poses a risk to young children, vulnerable groups, and waste collection providers.

The Dangers of Improper Battery Disposal

Button batteries, commonly found in remote controls, car keys, children’s toys, and various other devices, are a significant safety concern. While these small batteries may seem harmless, they can have devastating consequences if ingested or improperly discarded. Button batteries can cause severe internal burns and even death if swallowed, and they can lead to fires if thrown into regular waste or recycling bins.

B Cycle PR image batteries tapedA Simple Solution: Taping and Recycling

The solution is simple and effective. Taping used batteries with clear sticky tape can make them harder to swallow or insert. In case of accidental ingestion, the tape limits the damage and provides health staff with more time to save a child’s life. Taping also prevents batteries from short-circuiting, reducing the risk of dangerous fires.

By keeping batteries out of general waste and recycling bins, we not only safeguard our environment from toxic materials but also prevent fires in the waste stream. Recycling used batteries ensures they are handled safely by accredited collectors and can be repurposed into something new, reducing waste and benefiting our planet.

Expert Insights

Emergency pediatrician and Director of the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, Dr. Ruth Barker, emphasizes that battery-related accidents involving children can be hard to recognize, challenging to treat, and, in some cases, fatal if not quickly diagnosed. Taking the simple steps of taping batteries and keeping them out of children’s reach is essential for keeping our loved ones safe.

B-cycle CEO Libby Chaplin encourages all Australians to protect their families and communities by taping used batteries and taking them to their local B-cycle drop-off point. This small effort can make a significant impact by preventing accidents and fires.

Help Us Make a Difference

B-cycle has established over 4,000 easily accessible drop-off points across the country, including retail stores like ALDI, Bunnings, Battery World, Coles, Officeworks, and Woolworths. By taking a moment to tape your used batteries and drop them off at a B-cycle location, you can contribute to a safer and greener future.

Here’s your battery safety checklist:

  • Don’t toss them: Never put used batteries in your regular waste and recycling bins.
  • Tape them: Cover the battery terminals with clear sticky tape.
  • Take them: To your local B-cycle drop-off point or council collection site.
  • Store used batteries in a glass container. Make sure the container is not airtight as pressure can build up.
  • Don’t store batteries in a metal container, or with metal objects, as they can spark and create a fire hazard.
  • Keep batteries in a cool, dry place, away from heat sources like stoves.

Your small actions can make a big difference. Let’s protect our families, our environment, and our future together. By recycling your used batteries, you’re not only making your home safer but also contributing to a greener future. Batteries contain valuable and highly recyclable 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.