Sydneysiders switched on for battery recycling

Sydneysiders have recycled enough household batteries to power a family washing machine for three-and-a-half years, since a trial began at the City of Sydney’s e-waste drop-off points.

Ten handy recycling stations located across the City’s neighbourhood service centres and libraries have made it easier and more accessible to drop-off unwanted batteries, mobile phones and bulbs.

Since the trial began in 2014, the recycling stations have collected 143,000 household batteries, 10,000 light bulbs and nearly 3,000 mobile phones.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore congratulated Sydneysiders for dropping off an impressive three-and-a-half tonnes of items at the stations – the weight of two average-sized sedans.

“This fantastic result is a credit to our local communities who are collecting their unwanted bulbs, batteries and phones at home and disposing them responsibly,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Batteries, bulbs and phones don’t belong in our household bins and can cause huge damage to our natural environment. Batteries can leach toxic chemicals, including mercury, lead and cadmium into the ground.

“Australians generate more than 140,000 tonnes of electronic waste each year and most of it ends up in landfill. If recycled, many of the materials can be made into new products, sparing them from landfill.

“We want to make sure Sydney stays clean and beautiful now and into the future and we thank our communities in supporting us to help protect our beautiful harbour city.”

Every week about one million light bulbs containing mercury are sent to landfill in Australia, despite the fact that 95 per cent of a light globe can be recycled for glass, metals, phosphor powder and mercury.

At least 345 million handheld batteries are used nationally each year, with around 16,000 tonnes of batteries thrown away annually. In addition to the recycling stations, the City recovers around one tonne, or about 21,500 of these used batteries annually at e-waste and chemical clean-up drop off days.

The City’s zero waste coordinator, Hal Dobbins, said the City researched the number of kilowatt hours of power that the batteries handed-in would supply if fully charged.

“We worked out that the average mixture of battery types that make up the 143,000 batteries collected through the recycling stations alone would supply around 403 kilowatt hours of power,” Mr Dobbins said.

“This would be enough to keep a family washing machine going for three-and-a-half years or a microwave oven for over two years of typical use.”

The recycling stations can be found at sites in Surry Hills, Customs House, Newtown, Waterloo, Ultimo, Haymarket, Town Hall House, Redfern, Glebe, and Kings Cross.