Lighting Council Australia, with support from the Queensland government, is relaunching Exitcycle, an industry-led battery recycling program that seeks to improve the recycling rates of emergency and exit lights.
The voluntary product stewardship initiative, developed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in partnering with Lighting Council Australia, was launched in 2015 as a 12-month pilot project in Queensland, to produce guidance on issues involved in recycling these batteries from metropolitan, regional and remote sites.
As part of the program, commercial users commit to recycle at least 95 per cent (and preferably all) of their end-of-life emergency and exit lighting batteries, or in the case of facilitators, commit to promote the scheme to users of these batteries.
Lighting Council Australia national marketing and environment manager, Roman Gowor, said the program brings industry, government, and community together to improve environmental outcomes, noting that there are approximately 30 million emergency and exit lights across the country .
“The majority of the green-emergency lights we see across all buildings are powered by a combination of older battery technologies, which often use cadmium, nickel metal hydride or sealed lead acid. In the coming years, newer generation batteries will use more sustainable components, however multiple sectors—government, industry and end users— must work together to find the best way of increasing recycling rates,” he said.
The program will be launched at the Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane, with attendees including signatories to the Exitcycle scheme, recyclers, government officials and the lighting industry.
“The Exitcycle approach is successful because it is very well suited at addressing the specific waste issue”, explained Gowor.
“Unlike a great proportion of batteries used across the economy, emergency and exit lights are not typically used in households and, by law, can only be serviced by electrical contractors. The Exitcycle program is more targeted than other programs and focuses on electricians and facility and building managers.”