6 Aug 2011

Exide battery recycling plant closes temporarily

7:15 am on 6 August 2011

The American-owned Exide battery recycling plant in Lower Hutt has been shut down for a few days due to a shortage of work.

Its long-term future is still uncertain, however, as discussions by its United States owners continue.

A permanent closure of the Exide plant in Petone would cost more than 40 jobs and leave New Zealand without the ability to recycle used lead acid batteries onshore.

Lower Hutt residents have fought a long-running battle with Exide to have the plant closed, but Environment Minister Nick Smith says New Zealand should not be sending toxic waste to other countries.

Under the Basel Convention, the Government has an international obligation to handle toxic waste, if possible, within the country's borders.

Since late 2008, almost 100,000 tonnes of toxic lead batteries have been sent abroad.