B-cycle: A Sustainable Battery Recycling Initiative
Australia and the world are rapidly shifting from the use of petrol powered tools to battery powered tools in an attempt to reduce emissions, and provide a greener, cleaner future. Husqvarna’s range of battery powered garden tools and power tools are more popular than ever, as the general population gets behind this push for a cleaner way of doing things. The downside to battery powered tools, is the batteries themselves and how they’re disposed of when they reach their end of life.
This creates challenges for us as a society. Firstly, every battery you’ve ever used is most likely now sitting in landfill. The materials within batteries are toxic, and this toxic material within the batteries is leaking into the environment. That brings us to the second issue - rare resources. Materials that are key in the manufacturing of batteries, such as lithium, are precious earth resources that are mined from the ground. As more and more people move to battery powered tools, more and more lithium is required to be extracted from the earth. And when a battery reaches end of life, that precious material is then laid to waste.
At first, it may seem like a catch-22. On one hand, battery powered tools are great for the environment. There’s no direct emissions or exhaust gases like with petrol powered tools, and their convenience is in no doubt. On the other hand, the landfill and material waste issue can simply not be ignored.
Thankfully, it is not being ignored. The Australian government has created an official battery recycling scheme, B-cycle, which aims to reduce landfill waste and ensure that the precious materials in every battery you drop off gets made into something new.
Husqvarna’s Business Development Manager, Glenn Farrow believes that B-cycle goes hand in hand with Husqvarna’s Sustainovate commitment to sustainability. “The environment and sustainability is part of Husqvarna’s DNA,” Glenn says. “Everything we do - we look at the environmental impact of our products and our manufacturing methods. Batteries have a shelf life, no matter what type they are, and rather than send them to landfill where they may take thousands of years to break down, recycling the useable parts of the battery is in all of our best interests.”
Husqvarna’s Sustainovate program plans to lead the industry in the shift to a resource-smart economy. Through Sustainovate, Husqvarna is challenging themselves and inspiring others to transform and pioneer solutions for greater efficiency and smarter use of resources. Carbon, Circular and People are three targets to 2025 that are driving the way Husqvarna does business, giving us the opportunity to shift to a low-carbon energy mix and to offer great value to customers through circular economy solutions and the scaling of our positive impacts. B-cycle is a key component to this.
What is the B-cycle Scheme?
B-cycle is a six-step scheme that aims to considerably reduce the number of batteries entering landfill:
Step 1: Importers pay a levy which funds the scheme
Step 2: Retailers sell accredited battery brands
Step 3: Used batteries are deposited at B-cycle drop-off points
Step 4: Accredited participants earn rebates by collecting, sorting and recycling
Step 5: Recovered materials make new batteries and other products
Step 6: Earth’s finite resources are conserved
Batteries are now covered by the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act of 2020, which puts the onus on businesses to take greater responsibility when it comes to sustainability and a greener future. B-cycle connects industry leaders and expands material volumes through the Drop off network to build on economic opportunities.
Climate action, and a greener future is at the heart of B-cycle. By 2050, the overall demand for battery materials will increase by 500% which will exceed the supply of some materials, as we scale up our reliance on renewables. The simple fact is, we can’t afford to not recycle batteries and the elements within them. “Back in 2021 Husqvarna announced a further reduction of CO2 emissions of 35% to be reached by 2025,” Glenn says. “B-cycle and recycling of batteries is a big element of Husqvarna’s desire to create a greener future and a more sustainable way of running a business.”
As a stewardship initiative, B-cycle accreditation offers the confidence that used batteries are being safely managed, recycled and remade into something new. The scheme is backed by the Battery Stewardship Council and is supported by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments, and is authorised by the ACCC.
How B-cycle works for consumers
Disposing of batteries can be tough. They can’t be put in your household garbage or recycling bins, and when you throw a battery away they’re guaranteed to end up in one place: landfill. Batteries in landfill can cause fires and can leak toxic materials into waterways and our fragile ecosystem.
The B-cycle scheme makes disposing of batteries easier. All you need to do is tape the terminals of your batteries to prevent fire risk, put them in a glass jar or container to keep them away from kids and then B-cycle them at your nearest B-cycle drop-off point, and take your container home for reuse. There are B-cycle drop-off points all around the country. Check the B-cycle website to find a point near you.
Working Towards a Greener Future
“A scheme like B-cycle is without a doubt going to help in the long run,” Glenn says. “It’s all about being green - sustainability, environmentally, and the less we have to mine, the better. It’s a full circle solution, and one that we at Husqvarna are proud to be a part of.”