What is Battery Stewardship?
At its essence, stewardship means responsible management of a product, such as batteries from design through to its end of life. For batteries, it is helpful to look at the entire supply chain and consider how this might apply depending on who is taking part in the process.
Each of these sectors have their own important role to play as can be seen below.
Stewardship means designing batteries to be free or toxins or at least less toxic, less flammable, rechargeable, and reusable where possible.
Stewardship for manufacturers means ensuring safe work practices during manufacture, implementing good design, labelling batteries in order for their purpose to be clear, for consumers to know how to recycle them and for collectors and recyclers to know what they contain so they can be disassembled safety.
Stewardship for collection points means participating in stewardship schemes, promoting drop off locations, adhering to accreditation standards, protecting workers, and ensuring that contractors used for logistics, recycling, and processing are part of an accredited scheme.
Stewardship for consumers of batteries means taking care to purchase rechargeable AND recyclable batteries, using them safely according to instructions, taking care not to damage them during use, keeping them out of reach of children, and taking care to dispose of batteries safely and responsibly, preferably to a local recycler.
Stewardship for government means regulating to make sure others in the supply chain are sharing equitably in the stewardship process. Importantly, it also means leading by example by buying batteries that are rechargeable, recyclable, from responsible importers and retailers. It also means facilitating collections for employees and the community.
Stewardship for importers of batteries means participating in national stewardship schemes to ensure that batteries being imported into Australia are used safely and once spent, are properly managed to the end of their life.
Stewardship for consumers of batteries means participating in stewardship schemes, adhering to packing and transport laws such as the Australian Dangerous Goods Code, and ensuring that batteries are delivered to responsible accredited recyclers.
Stewardship for processors of batteries means participating in stewardship schemes, adhering to accreditation standards for processing, protecting workers, responsibly processing batteries, and ensuring that all downstream shipments of process outputs are tracked and reported.
Stewardship for recyclers of batteries means participating in stewardship schemes, adhering to accreditation standards for sorting and aggregation, protecting workers, responsibly processing batteries, and ensuring that all downstream shipments of process outputs are tracked and reported.
Stewardship for researchers means helping to better understand what true stewardship means, how people engage in stewardship activities, the status of stewardship programs, and looking forward in order to future proof stewardship systems and schemes.
Stewardship for those selling batteries means participating in national stewardship schemes to ensure that batteries being sold into Australia are used safely and once spent, are properly managed to the end of their life. Often it also means providing drop off facilities for consumers seeking to dispose of their batteries responsibly.