"Charging" up local battery recycling

Envirostream have started recycling lithium batteries in Australia

Batteries are “charging” up the waste stream, that is, battery waste is growing fast. The sources of battery waste is increasing and come from a variety of industries such as electric and hybrid vehicles, power tools, domestic and industrial applications, power generation and renewable energy storage systems.

With reports indicating that the number of lithium batteries entering the waste stream will grow by at least 300% by 20361, a local innovative recycling solution is needed. Envirostream Australia is set to lead the onshore battery recycling sector with a new processing facility in Campbellfield, Victoria.

The new system is two years in the making with research that went international, looking at how other countries handle battery recycling. This lead to the creation of Australia’s first onshore lithium, nickel metal and alkaline battery processor, Envirostream.

In just the first five months of operation in 2017, Envirostream recovered 140 tonnes of material from batteries. The steel, copper and aluminium are sold into national markets to be used back in the manufacture of new products and the multi-metal compound is returned to the battery industry to be processed into new batteries, showcasing a circular economic model.

The aim that no battery will need to leave Australia or go to landfill is hopefully becoming a reality.

More information

1 Blue Environment, Ascend and REC, 2015, Hazardous Waste Infrastructure Needs and Capacity Assessment, Department of Environment, Canberra.