Over the last decade, lithium batteries have become more common in our everyday lives and in 2018, governments of all levels recognised that the demand for these products was rapidly increasing. The problem was how to manage these products to reduce the burden of waste in the future as the current method did not encourage lithium to be recycled and was not economical as only 3% of lithium batteries were being recycled.
A robust solution was identified and urgently needed to help facilitate the environmentally responsible management of used lithium-ion batteries (ULIB), similar to the solution for used lead-acid batteries (ULAB). If not addressed quickly, the disposal of used ULIBs could be problematic to future generations.
An industry managed battery stewardship scheme was decided as the best solution to support a circular product lifecycle and ensure the responsible management of batteries. In response, the Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) was formed and would be the key driver and advocate of a battery stewardship scheme to ensure the environmental sustainability of battery products.
Sealed Performance Batteries (SPB) is proud to announce its inclusion in the BSC as part of its commitment to be a responsible industry supplier along with reducing the business’s environmental footprint. They join many other leading companies across the battery supply chain that have also voluntarily joined and share the same environmental values. This includes the likes of Duracell, Woolworths, Bunnings Warehouse and Planet Arc, to name a few.
Here for the long run, the scheme is funded by industry participants through a small levy placed on each imported lithium battery according to its size until the recycling of ULIB gets to a stage whereby it is self-funded. Similar to where ULAB recycling sits now.
As a significant importer of Lithium batteries, SPB is responsible for the initial collection of the levy on their lithium products. This price is added to the product and passed down the supply chain until it reaches the end-user. Products such as Invicta and Zeal will now include a small levy from January 15, which is calculated using the cell weight. For a standard Invicta SNL12V100BT, this increase will translate to roughly $10, but considering the high price tag, this will represent only a small drop in the ocean.
A price that consumers will be willing to pay for a piece of mind and business leaders be happy to apply as it increases the scheme’s robustness and goes a long way in offsetting the cost of recycling lithium batteries. This levy is to be visible and pass through to the consumer to encourage them to return the ULIB to an accredited location at the end of life for safe and responsible recycling.
Being in the battery industry for over 25 years and an importer, distributor and designer of lithium batteries nationally, SPB plays a significant part in the scheme. They are able to share their unrivalled knowledge of the industry with others in the BSC to provide continuous improvements for battery quality, safety, and labelling. In addition, they are one of the first businesses to collect the levy from lithium products sold to resellers and a significant contributor to levy and accreditation visibility in the market, ensuring the scheme’s long-term viability.
Being part of the BSC is an essential step for SPB. Unlike other recycling services available in the battery industry, the stewardship scheme provides rebates and clear accreditation for participants to encourage uptake and the alignment of goals. This gives SPB, and other organisations involved the confidence in knowing that their investment in the scheme is fully utilised and recognised from the design phase to end-user and beyond.
The scheme also adds consumer confidence and value to brands as it is easy to identify which organisations participate in the scheme, with brands able to clearly display an accreditation stamp on their products, flyers and digital. And with more emphasis being placed on brands by consumers to provide circular economies for their products, a BSC accreditation will increase the value of their product and brand.
Overall the BSC stewardship scheme is a long-awaited and much-needed addition to the battery industry and one that SPB looks forward to being a part of. It will not only ensure that lithium products are responsibly managed from design to end-of-life but for SPB it represents a step towards a sustainable future and aligns with their own goals of reducing the business’s environmental foot to create a better future for all.