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The challenge of recycling lithium batteries

Did you know that only a small percentage of lithium batteries are recycled, with most ending up in landfill? ...

Did you know that only a small percentage of lithium batteries are recycled, with most ending up in landfill?

One of the main barriers is their casing, says Vaulta CEO and founder, Dominic Spooner.

Speaking at our Academic and Industry Engagement event this week, Dominic said the Brisbane company was overcoming this major industry challenge.

“The penny drop moment was finding out recycling of lithium batteries was near non-existent and the way they were packaged had a significant impact,” Dominic said.

“Without better battery casing, we’re going to have a real problem with longer-term aspects of how the industry works.

“Relying on batteries that end up in landfill is not a sustainable way to roll out renewables.

“People are going to become frustrated with battery manufacturers, just like they are now with the coal industry.

“We have the opportunity to get this right before the problem hits hard. We can solve this right now – and Vaulta is doing that.”

Vaulta, one of our newest Members, is manufacturing new batteries that can be dissembled for recycling and repair (in the field, if necessary).

“We are proud to champion locally made content. For us, being ‘local’ means more than just a label, it means manufacturing everything we can right here in Queensland.

“By encouraging local production, we not only support our community but also reduce reliance on offshore sources, promoting sustainable economic growth.”

Fast facts about lithium batteries

  • Queensland’s waste reduction targets for 2050 include 75% recycling rates across all waste types, and for 90% of waste to recovered instead of going to landfill. Currently, Australia’s battery recycling rate is 3%, and 9% worldwide.
  • The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2030, there would be 145 million electric cars on the roads, surging to a staggering 230 million if governments prioritise energy and climate goals.
  • Australia regularly follows EU regulations. The EU Battery Recycling Mandate states: “…Extended Producer Responsibility will start applying by mid-2025, with higher collection targets being introduced over time. For portable batteries, the targets will be 63% in 2027 and 73% in 2030, while for batteries with light means of transport, the target will be 51% in 2028 and 61% in 2031. All collected batteries have to be recycled and high levels of recovery have to be achieved, in particular of valuable materials such as copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel, and lead.

Academic and Industry Engagement events

These events are held quarterly at our facility and are designed to foster collaboration between academia and industry, and raise awareness of industry challenges.

Would you like to join the next one? Please email