Addressing Complexities: C.D. Dodd’s Approach to Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Challenges

Lithium-ion batteries power the lion’s share of commercial and consumer electronics. Billions of smartphones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, toys and even power tools use lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion or LIB).

They also power electric vehicles and energy storage systems, two rapidly expanding markets.

According to the CSIRO, the global market for lithium-ion batteries reached nearly 250 GWh (gigawatt hours) in 2020. They expect that number to increase 10-fold by 2030.

That’s around 2.5 trillion watt-hours. For context, the average smartphone charger uses 5 watts per hour and laptops use 18-65 watts.

In other words, there will be a lot of batteries needing to be recycled in the future. 

As a leader of commercial battery recycling in Perth, C.D. Dodd welcomed the State Government’s recent commitment to ban e-waste in landfills in 2024. This follows Victoria’s and Queensland’s lead.

The ban aims to address a looming battery waste problem by diverting a significant amount of e-waste to facilities capable of recycling lithium-ion batteries.

Australia certainly has the potential to be a leader in LIB recycling. However, we have several challenges to solve first.

 

Understanding Li-ion technology

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most important technological innovations today. They are more efficient than lead-acid batteries, with greater weight-for-weight capacity and a significantly longer average lifespan.

Why is lithium so special? Lithium is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element, with exceptionally high electrochemical potential in a compact size. 

As well as lithium, LIBs typically use cobalt, nickel, manganese and graphite. These materials enable the anodes, cathodes and conductive materials to do their work. 

However, the complex composition that fuels performance also creates challenges for end-of-life management.

 

Challenges and innovations: Commercial battery recycling in Perth

Commercial battery recycling in Perth is advancing rapidly thanks to Government attention, private investment and public awareness.

Still, we have yet to overcome every lithium-ion battery recycling barrier. 

Complex construction

Modern batteries are designed for efficiency and performance, not easy disassembly. The various cell shapes and configurations make material separation difficult.

Safety concerns

Lithium-ion batteries contain volatile materials that pose fire hazards when handled improperly. 

Collection logistics

Batteries are classified as hazardous waste. They require special handling and transportation considerations. 

Add to that the sheer size of Western Australia and the dispersed nature of battery waste (especially from consumer electronics), and collection efforts get complicated.

Identification and sorting

Different lithium-ion batteries contain varying chemistries and designs. Identifying and sorting these batteries for processing is critical to avoid contamination but inherently challenging.

Separation and recovery

Current recycling methods may not efficiently recover all valuable materials. Battery chemistries are also evolving and diversifying, so efficient material recovery remains a challenge.

 

Challenging economic conditions

Fluctuating materials prices, high processing costs and economic headwinds challenge the viability of Perth’s commercial battery recycling operations.

 

How to improve lithium-ion recycling in Perth

Recycling infrastructure, collection processes, and safe and effective battery recycling methods take time to develop. However, with the number of LIBs in circulation set to increase exponentially, commercial battery recycling is among Perth’s most pressing priorities.

We can’t wait for solutions to appear. We must work together to create them.

Strategic partnerships

Collaboration between battery recycling companies, technology providers and researchers could accelerate the pace of advancement.

Sharing knowledge and challenges enables all sides to stay ahead of developments, ensuring recycling infrastructure is equipped to handle emerging technology.

Community engagement

With millions of LIBs circulating in Western Australian homes and businesses – not to mention the billions worldwide – educating people on the importance of recycling is vital. 

E-waste is everyone’s concern. Small changes help Perth’s commercial battery recyclers divert more LIBs from landfills and reclaim valuable materials:

  • Establish communal battery collection points through a certified recycler
  • Hold a battery drive to collect e-waste and raise money in the process
  • Donate old equipment rather than throwing it away
  • Refurbish electronics to prolong their lifecycle

Talk to C.D. Dodd about safe, sustainable and community-minded battery recycling in Perth and across WA.

Safe, simple logistics

C.D. Dodd works with trusted partners to safely collect and transport old batteries from all over Western Australia. 

We collect all kinds of batteries, from electric vehicles and mining equipment to consumer devices, and bring them to Perth for recycling.

Our fleet of collection vehicles is approved to transport batteries and is licensed by the DWER (WA Department of Water and Environment Regulation).

 

Two big benefits of lithium-ion battery recycling in Perth

1. Environmental protection

E-waste is the primary target for lithium-ion battery recycling in Perth. It’s simple: every battery we recycle is one less in landfill.  

That one battery is then recycled into a new battery without the materials being mined. With advancing technology, this is done safely to prevent pollution. Recycling also emits fewer emissions than mining, processing, refining and manufacturing the materials for a new battery. 

There is even a chance of this new battery ending up in a solar panel or wind turbine. 

If recycling one battery has this much potential, imagine what we will do when Perth’s commercial battery recycling industry is fully charged.

2. Economic potential

Recycling lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper recovered from batteries reduces the need to extract and process raw materials. 

With global demand increasing at warp speed, our state’s mining companies will still have customers. However, battery recycling is a valuable resource stream that ensures supply can meet that demand and keep costs down. 

Recycling is also generally cheaper than processing raw materials, reducing manufacturing costs. This can potentially bolster our manufacturing sector and stabilise supply chains with reclaimed material.

 

The future of lithium-Ion battery recycling in Perth

According to the CSIRO, Li-ion battery waste is growing by 20% yearly, with over 130,000 tonnes going to landfill.

This is not just a problem for Perth’s lithium-ion battery recycling companies. It’s a concern that affects everyone in the state. Thankfully, the CSIRO also notes that “Australia could become a world leader in the re-use and recycling of lithium-ion batteries”. 

We agree – although we feel that Australia must become a world leader. 

C.D. Dodd remains committed to providing solutions for safe, efficient and economically viable lithium-ion battery recycling in Perth

Strategic partnerships, a state-wide battery collection network and industry-leading recycling methods are just the start.

As we look to the future, our commitment to innovation will continue to drive our efforts. If you are interested in learning more about these efforts or enquiring about commercial battery recycling in Perth, we welcome you to get in touch.

Let’s get started

Perth

Gate 1, 521 Dundas Road, Forrestfield WA 6058

Karratha

Lot 109 Bedrock Turn, Gap Ridge Estate, Karratha WA 6714

Port Hedland

10 Trig Street, Wedgefield WA 6721

Kalgoorlie

1 Coath Road, Kalgoorlie West WA 6430