The Queensland Government in partnership with Lighting Council Australia – the peak body for Australia’s lighting industry – recently launched a recycling initiative for emergency and exit lighting batteries. EXITCYCLE aims to increase the recycling rate of end-of-life emergency and exit lighting batteries. It’s estimated that five million batteries are sent to landfill each year. About 90% of batteries used in emergency and exit lighting are either nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) or sealed lead acid (SLA). Cadmium, lead and nickel are toxic heavy metals that need to be carefully managed to minimise their impact on humans and the natural environment.
Australian Standards require that emergency and exit lighting is tested every six months and often the batteries are replaced during this maintenance. Only licensed electrical contractors are authorised to remove and replace these batteries. Private and government sector organisations in Queensland are being approached to become Signatories to EXITCYCLE. Signatories commit to recycle at least 95% (and preferably all) of their end-of-life emergency and exit lighting batteries at their nominated sites. Contact details for battery recyclers operating in Queensland are listed on the EXITCYCLE website.
Lighting Council Australia also manages the Australian Government accredited FluoroCycle scheme, which seeks to increase the recycling rate of mercury-containing lamps. Mercury in landfill converts to the toxic methylmercury and can spread to the wider environment. It is expected that EXITCYCLE will be extended to a national emergency lighting battery recycling scheme following the Queensland pilot.
Please visit the EXITCYCLE website or contact Lighting Council Australia on (03) 9859 4545 for more information.