6 Sep 2011

Govt defends shipping used batteries overseas

3:22 pm on 6 September 2011

The Crown has told a Wellington court the Government has not broken the law by shipping used batteries overseas to be recycled.

A battery recycling plant in Lower Hutt is suing the Government, saying it has broken international treaties by exporting the batteries the plant needs to operate.

Battery company Exide says the Government has an obligation to deal with hazardous waste such as used batteries locally if it has a facility available.

The lawyer representing the Government, Victoria Casey, told Justice Miller at the Wellington High Court that does not apply to batteries that can be recycled, because they can be recycled to extract the lead they contain.

"If it's for recycling, you're allowed to export it."

Ms Casey said there is no concern that overseas recyclers are not handling the waste in an environmentally friendly way.

If exports were not allowed, that would give Exide a monopoly which would hurt scrap dealers and then less lead would be recycled, she says.

Exide is expected to respond to the Governments submissions on Tuesday afternoon.