Southland-wide solution to battery waste launches in Invercargill

A new initiative to recycle lithium and alkaline batteries has launched in Invercargill.

WasteNet, which manages solid waste disposal and recycling For Invercargill, Gore, and Southland, has teamed up with Phoenix Metalman to provide a drop-off point for all kinds of electronic batteries in order for them to be responsibly disposed of in a first for Southland.

Recyclers Phoenix Metalman officially opened its Invercargill operation on Monday, with the location open to the public on Tuesday. The drop-off point is at 297 Bond St, right next to the Invercargill transfer station.

Invercargill City Council Manager Infrastructure Operations Matthew Keil said batteries up to 20kg in weight could be recycled there for free, with WasteNet covering this cost, while anything over would have a charge.

“This is the first time Southland has had anything like this. It provides a sustainable recycling process and can be used by all Southland residents.

“We’ve had numerous fires at regional landfills this year, the cause of which has primarily been lithium batteries. Providing a recycling point for all kinds of batteries will reduce these fires but also other environmental risks.”

Lithium batteries will now be banned in the waste stream to landfill, due to the fire hazard.

As well as the drop-off point, WasteNet has also entered into an agreement with Mitre 10 for the disposal of household batteries at the Invercargill, Te Anau, Winton and Gore stores.

Group Manager Infrastructure Erin Moogan said she was pleased to now have an answer to e-battery waste.

“There has been a huge increase in battery usage thanks to the rise in technological advances and it has become a necessity to find a solution for batteries once they are at the end of their usable lives.

“For the past year, WasteNet has been prioritising a safe and sustainable solution to the disposal of e-batteries and we now have two ways to do this. This is a great outcome for the region and just another way we can look after the environment.”

Battery types that can be recycled with Phoenix Metalman include lead acid, alkaline zinc household batteries, lithium, nickel metal hydride and nickel-cadmium batteries.

Phoenix Metalman will be open to the public from 7.30am on Tuesday 12 December 2023.