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Council starts household battery recycling trial

20 Jun 2023, 10:09 AM

Kāpiti Coast District Council has started a one-year recycling trial for household batteries. 

From Wednesday 21 June approved batteries can be recycled at Paraparaumu Library, helping divert hazardous waste from landfill and reduce the risk of old batteries starting fires in rubbish or recycling bins and collection trucks.  

Council Waste Projects Manager Robbie Stillwell says 99 percent of the components in domestic batteries may be able to be reused in new batteries and steel building reinforcing rods. 

“If you put old batteries in your rubbish or recycling, they can be a fire risk,” Mr Stillwell said. 

“If batteries aren’t disposed of properly hazardous substances can leak out and pollute the soil and water with heavy metals. 

“Currently people can drop off their old batteries for free at our transfer station, and that will continue, but those facilities are only for safe disposal. Our new trial will recycle them for other uses. 

“We also recognise that the transfer station may not be convenient for people with just a couple of batteries to get rid of, so we’ve set up small domestic battery recycling station in the foyer of Paraparaumu Library for the duration of the trial.” 

Mr Stillwell said normal household batteries, such as lithium-ion or Li-ion (including rechargeable ones), nickel cadmium and alkaline AA/AAA, C, D, and N batteries, and silver zinc hearing aid batteries – all in good condition – can be dropped off. 

The trial has safety measures in place including using a non-metal bucket of adequate size that lowers the combustion risk. For additional safety, people dropping off lithium-ion batteries will need to tape the ends with tape provided at the recycling station. 

Leaking or damaged batteries, or batteries for power tools, electronic devices, or vehicles, cannot be dropped off at the library and would still need to go to the transfer station for safe disposal. 

“We really love our unique handcrafted recycling station, which was custom-built by Allan Cannell and Jim Walls from Menzshed Kāpiti out of wood reclaimed by the Zero Waste Ōtaki timber recycling centre,” Mr Stillwell said. 

“Our trial is also being done in collaboration with battery recycling company Upcycle, which collects batteries from all over New Zealand for recycling.” 

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