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Mobiles industry to launch battery recycling scheme

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Media Release 23 September 1998



The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) today announced that the mobile phone industry will be undertaking a recycling scheme for mobile phone batteries.

Mr Peter Russell, Executive Director of AMTA, said today, “this scheme, which is jointly funded by AMTA and the NSW Government, is an important and innovative initiative for the mobiles industry. Once the scheme is operational customers will know that they are doing their bit for the environment through

returning their used batteries for recycling”.

“With this scheme, the mobiles industry is demonstrating a commitment to its product beyond the expiry of the warranty card, and is also supporting the development of innovative Australian technology for recycling”, Mr Russell added.

AMTA on behalf of some of Australia’s largest mobile telecommunications companies will begin a six month trial scheme in metropolitan Sydney in November with over 100 retail outlets participating in the scheme.

AMTA intends to implement a national scheme as soon as possible after the completion of the trial scheme.

The Scheme will allow users of Ericsson, Motorola, NEC, Nokia and Siemens mobile phones to return their batteries to any participating retail outlet including those of Telstra, Optus or Vodafone.

“This is a great opportunity for customers of our participating companies to dispose of their unwanted phone batteries. It will be as easy as walking into one of the many participating stores and depositing the batteries into a specially marked collection box”, Mr Russell said.

“AMTA is also pleased to be working with the NSW Government and its voluntary waste reduction initiatives, to ensure that this scheme is a resounding success”

“This is a good example of industry and government working together to bring about environmentally positive outcomes”, Mr Russell added.

The Scheme will be funded by manufacturers contributing a recycling levy on all batteries that they place into the market. The program will be promoted to the public by retailers and carriers through their advertising campaigns.

For F u rth er In form ation:

Mr Peter Russell, AMTA Executive Director (02) 6230 6055 or 0412 22 9999

Lonsdale Centre 6 Lonsdale Street, BRADDON ACT 261 2

GPO Box 1 966 Canberra ACT 2601 Pb (02) 6230 6055 Fax (02) 6247 9840


The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) is the national body for the mobile telecommunications industry in Australia. AMTA represents carriers, handset manufacturers, service providers, retailers and associated industries.

AMTA intends to launch a six month trial recycling scheme in metropolitan Sydney in November 1998, with at least 100 participating retail stores. The scheme will accept batteries from participating manufacturers such as Ericsson, Motorola, NEC, Nokia and Siemens, who will be paying a recycling levy for each battery that they are placing into the market. This will allow customers with unwanted batteries to walk into any of the 100 participating Telstra, Optus, Vodafone or Strathfield Car Radio stores and deposit their batteries in specially marked collection boxes.

The boxes will be collected by Melbourne based recycler, MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd. MRI holds contracts for the management of waste streams including hazardous materials, the recycling of redundant computer, office and telecommunications equipment as well as engaging in the recovery of components and precious and base metals.

MRI will sort, store and transport the collected mobile phone batteries to Ausmelt Limited.

The Ausmelt bath smelting technology, a technology which was developed in Australia, will provide the basis for the recycling of the spent nickel batteries. The process is expected to produce three marketable streams, including a nickel containing product, a cadmium containing fume and a lower value ‘slag’. All these products will be used in various commercial applications.

AMTA will be using the trial scheme to ensure maximum effectiveness in its distribution, collection and recycling procedures. AMTA will also be utilising the trial phase to prepare for national implementation of the scheme.

AMTA envisages that the national scheme will be launched in the second half of 1999.

AMTA is pleased to acknowledge the assistance of the NSW Government with the trial scheme. The $100,000 grant received from the NSW Government will be used to employ a Project Manager for the scheme and for some associated activities.

The Scheme will be actively promoted to the public by the mobile phone carriers and retailers, and this will help to ensure that the community is aware of the scheme and the ease of returning their unwanted mobile phone batteries.

For Further Information:

Peter Russell, AMTA Executive Director (02) 6230 6055 or 0412 22 9999 Michael Milligan, AMTA Project Manager (02) 6230 6055 or 0414 200 888 Will Le Messurier, MRI (Aust) Pty Ltd (03) 9305 4611 Paul Abbott, Ausmelt Limited (03) 9787 6170