How to Recycle...Batteries
With Christmas approaching, you might be investing in batteries for the kids’ toys, but what happens when the batteries run out?
Batteries are classed as hazardous waste, so they should not be put in with general waste. They contain hazardous chemicals and harmful metals, so they should either be returned to the manufacturer, or taken to a recycling centre or collection point.
From February 2010, any retailers that sell over 32kg of batteries per year have to provide recycling facilities in-store.
What type of batteries are recyclable?
- All household batteries
- Button batteries in watches
- Batteries from laptops, mobile phones, power tools and remote controls
- Car batteries can be recycled but they should be taken to a collection point
Sorting batteries before recycling makes them easier to recycle. Batteries are made from different chemicals, usually either lithium-ion, zinc, or nickel cadmium, and sorting them means that more of the original material can be recovered.
How different batteries can be reused
The recovered materials from recycled batteries can be used to make other items like:
Lead acid batteries: From cars and forklift trucks
The lead, polypropylene, and gypsum can be used to make items like filler for plasterboard and soap powder.
Nickel cadmium batteries: From power tools
The nickel, steel, and cadmium can be used in the steel industry and for metal plating.
Zinc-based batteries: Household batteries
The steel, zinc, and manganese from these batteries can be used in industry for many different things.
Nickel metal hydride batteries: For use in mobile phones
The nickel and steel from these batteries is often used in the steel industry.
Lithium ion batteries: Used in laptops
The cobalt and steel from the batteries is used in electronics, paint, and in steel manufacturing.
What can you do?
Batteries need a lot of energy to make, so the best thing you can do is to use rechargeable batteries, or mains powered items. Rechargeable batteries can be charged hundreds of times, and you can even get a solar powered charger for them!
When you buy new products, look for products that use renewable forms of energy, like solar power.