A RECYCLING depot for small household batteries is operating at Port Fairy in a trial that could trigger an expansion to other parts of the south-west.
It was sparked by growing concerns about the number of household batteries that are not recycled and put into rubbish bins to go to landfill.
A report to Moyne Shire Council last week by chief executive David Madden said about 8000 tonnes of batteries a year ended up in landfills around Australia, most containing heavy metals.
“If disposed of incorrectly the heavy metals may leach into the ground when the battery erodes, contributing to soil and water pollution,” he said.
In an effort to reduce the problem a collection bin has been placed outside the Princes Street council building in conjunction with Battery World of Warrnambool.
The batteries will be sorted and lead acid batteries will be added to car batteries collected at transfer stations for recycling.
Alkaline batteries will be sent away for safe storage.
“Lead acid batteries are worth $4.50 a kilogram, but alkaline batteries cost about $6.50 a kilogram to freight and store,” Mr Madden said.
“It is hoped the income from the lead acid batteries will cover the cost of alkaline batteries and this service will be extended to Mortlake and Koroit.”
Meanwhile, more people are taking their mattresses to be recycled rather than dumped in landfill.
Mr Madden said about six mattresses a week went to collection sites in August.
“The contents of a mattress are almost completely recyclable, but all too often they end up as landfill, talking up an inordinate amount of space and unnecessarily wasting valuable natural resources,” he said.
“The cost to customers remains at $20 a single and $30 a double, which may seem excessive, but is actually a break-even figure for council to provide the mattress recycling service.”