Edinburgh’s Seafield Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) on Seafield Road provided the perfect backdrop to welcome a peloton of seven cyclists – on pedal and e-bikes – during the fifth stage of the REPIC WEEE Cycle Network event on Tuesday 6th June 2023.
To mark the 15 year anniversary of the UK’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations, REPIC, the leading WEEE producer compliance scheme, was joined by representatives from Optimum Eco Group, specialists in recycling TVs and other electronic equipment. The peloton was warmly welcomed by The City of Edinburgh Councillor, Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener at the start of day five of the 15 day cycling event.
Celebrating 15 great stories along the route, and joining up a network of AATFs, Local Authority sites, repair and reuse initiatives, the REPIC WEEE Cycle Network event is also providing an opportunity to look forward to what lies ahead in both the forthcoming WEEE consultation and the transition to a more circular economy.
Edinburgh was one of the first local authorities in Scotland to install and implement REPIC’s separate battery collection drums and large signage next to the point where people discard their unwanted and broken small electrical items at the Seafield Recycling Centre. The initiative, launched just over six months ago, has seen the additional drums double the opportunity to capture used batteries and help make it easier for residents to recycle them.
Edinburgh residents are now able to recycle used household batteries by either taking them out of their unwanted electricals prior to arrival or at the point of disposal on site. It is also hoped that by highlighting the separate containers and new signage on the site it will encourage more recycling of batteries, to ensure the scarce metals they contain can be recovered and reused to make new products.
Councillor, Scott Arthur, Environment Convener, said: “I would encourage everyone to recycle as much of their waste as they can, and so it is important we make it as easy as possible for our residents, particularly for items such as batteries which are so widely used in many of today’s electrical items.
“All of our Household Waste and Recycling centres at Seafield, Sighthill and Craigmillar offer a service where you can deposit anything from your car battery down to your watch battery. For those unable to make it to our centres, several supermarkets in Edinburgh offer this service as well.
“Since installing the drop off points you’ve disposed of 20% more batteries safely at them which just shows they are working well! You can also check out this postcode-based checker to dispose of electrical items correctly as well – https://www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/.”
The arrival of the peloton provided the perfect opportunity to remind all residents and visitors to the Seafield HWRC to recycle more of their batteries separately from their end of life electrical appliances prior to discarding them at HWRCs, where possible.
Louise Grantham, Chief Executive at REPIC, comments: “The new collection service will ensure the scarce metals contained in batteries are properly recovered and reused into new products. With an increasing number of fires at UK waste and recycling plants, encouraging the removal of batteries from unwanted and broken electrical appliances, ideally prior to them coming through the gates of the HWRC, can help mitigate any fire risk associated with discarded batteries.
“A fire risk can occur if discarded batteries in mixed waste are damaged during transport or processing. This risk is significantly reduced and managed when discarded batteries are collected and processed separately. With new clear signage at the point of disposal, and a collaborative approach with our key partners, REPIC hopes the public will continue to support the campaign and recycle their batteries separately.”
REPIC has invested time, resources and research over the past 15 years to collaboratively work in partnership with others in the sector to tackle a concern, and to develop new collection initiatives to help local communities and its partnered local authorities. The new battery collection scheme is the latest successful campaign that continues to be rolled out to more local authorities across the UK and is also being adopted by other producer compliance schemes as best practice.
The REPIC WEEE Cycle Network event will conclude on Friday 16th June when the peloton of cyclists pulls into the 15th and final destination in Sittingbourne, Kent around midday. The cyclists will have completed 850 miles across 15 days and raised a total of £15k for local good causes along the way.