Despite almost 3 in 5 people saying they have either started recycling batteries, or are recycling more dead batteries than they used to*, fewer than half of all the batteries discarded in the UK are currently recycled properly. This means we throw away up to a billion batteries every year, or the equivalent of at least ten each**.
Dead or spent batteries actually contain lots of valuable materials that can be recycled and used to make new things. To raise awareness of this and encourage more recycling of household batteries, in the run up to Halloween we’re raising awareness of the new Environmental Services Association (ESA) campaign, to help stop dead batteries from becoming zombies.
The five top tips for recycling batteries taken from this year’s #Take Charge campaign:
- Try to use rechargeable batteries instead of single-use ones where possible
- Try to sell or donate working, unwanted battery-powered electronic items instead of throwing them away
- Never put batteries in your general rubbish bin or recycle them with other recyclable materials
- If you can easily remove a battery from a product, the battery should always be recycled separately using a battery recycling point or collection service
- If you can’t remove a battery from an electronic product that no longer works, such as devices like mobile phones and tablets, the product and battery should be recycled together at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. If they’re in working order, these items should be re-used or donated to charity to keep them in use for as long as possible.
Why is it important to recycle batteries?
- Batteries are made from metals and minerals. Some of these are heavy metals such as lead and mercury which are toxic. Other metals are copper, aluminium, nickel and lithium which are recyclable resources.
- Batteries that go into the rubbish bin will get taken to landfill sites or be incinerated
- If we recycle batteries, we’ll reduce the amount of waste sent for landfill or incineration and reduce the need for virgin materials every year
- Each battery recycled will be safely taken apart and the materials used to make something new
How do you recycle batteries?
- Store your spent batteries in a cool, dry and preferably plastic container and take them regularly to a recycling centre
- Batteries can be recycled at your local household waste recycling centre by placing them in the correct battery recycling bins
- Alternatively, look out for battery collection points – there are lots about in schools, shops, supermarkets, garages – even in libraries and town halls
Recycling your batteries safely has never been easier. Working together we can responsibly recycle our dead batteries!
*Taken from survey commissioned by REPIC in November 2019 of 1,002 participants in annual e-waste audit and household survey
**Taken from ESA Takecharge campaign information.