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Battery Recycling: A Guide

Battery Recycling

Many of the things we use in our everyday lives contain batteries. From your car to your smartphone, laptop, kids’ toys, and more, they all have them. So what happens when these batteries die? Hands up if you put them in a random drawer because you have no idea what to do with them. Our guide to battery recycling might just help you figure it out.

Why Is Battery Recycling Important?

It protects you and the environment from hazardous substances

Batteries contain known cancer-causing chemicals like cadmium and pollutants like lead and lithium.

Battery recycling preserves natural resources

Batteries contain valuable resources like metals. Recycling them conserves these resources and reduces the need for mining new ones.

It saves energy

It takes a lot more energy to produce new batteries than it does to recycle old ones and turn them into something new.

Proper battery recycling reduces the risk of fires

If batteries aren’t recycled properly, they can cause fires. According to Recycle Now, between April 2019 and March 2020, almost 260 fires were started by 'zombie' batteries in recycling or waste management facilities.

How and Where to Recycle Batteries

The good news is, most batteries you use at home are recyclable. You can recycle:

  • All household batteries including 'button' batteries in watches;
  • Battery packs from laptops, mobile phones, power tools, and remote control units;
  • Car batteries (note you can’t recycle these at home, you must take them to a collection point).

You can recycle batteries:

At home - If your local authority accepts them for recycling. If that’s the case, make sure you check their website for instructions on how to put them out for collection.

At collection points - In February 2010, any retailer selling more than 32kg of batteries per year had to provide in-store battery recycling collection facilities. Retailers like Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, and Waitrose are all members of BatteryBack, a recycling compliance scheme. As a result, there are plenty of places where you can take your old batteries. There are over 25,000 BatteryBack collection points.

The Benefits of Recycling Batteries

You can protect your health and prevent pollution

As we mentioned earlier, batteries contain some hazardous chemicals that are bad both for your health and the environment. These chemicals, heavy metals, and acids can harm us and pollute soil and water if they end up in landfill. Recycling batteries stop this from happening.

Battery recycling means valuable materials are recovered

The planet’s resources aren’t infinite. Batteries contain valuable materials like lead, nickel, zinc, and cobalt. They aren’t renewable, so put them in landfill and they’re gone forever. Recycle them however and they’ll appear in new products.

It keeps battery prices in check

It’s cheaper to make batteries from recovered materials than it is to mine for new materials. Lower production costs mean better prices for consumers.

It reduces the risk of fires and explosions

Recycling batteries properly means they aren’t exposed to heat, damage, or improper handling that can cause fires and explosions. This is a real danger in waste facilities.

Battery recycling actually saves you money

Recycling batteries minimises waste which means less waste management costs for councils (and us). This means the taxes we pay are better spent.

Recycling Batteries - The European League Table

When it comes to battery recycling, the UK doesn’t even end up in a medal position. We crawl in at 14th with a battery recycling rate of around 45%. Meanwhile, here are the top 5 battery recyclers in Europe.

  • 1 Belgium - 71%
  • 2 Luxembourg - 63%
  • 3 Hungary - 53%
  • 4 Lithuania - 53%
  • 5 Czech Republic - 52%

Which Battery Bins are Available?

Transparent Battery Recycling Bin

Fed up with dumping your old batteries in ‘that’ drawer because you don’t know what else to do with them? Why not make your life easier and invest in a battery bin like our 3-litre battery recycling bin?

Once you’ve taken the batteries to a recycling point, pop your bin in a dishwasher. If recycling batteries makes you feel like you’re doing your bit, what if we told you that the bin is 100% recyclable after use? Well it is, so bask in the extra eco-friendly brownie points.

Or with our transparent battery recycling bin, you can collect batteries for your office or school at a reasonable price. Available in two sizes and two colours, it makes battery recycling simple and easy. It also features a cushioned base to prevent leakages and loud bangs!

It’s a safe place for any office, industrial workplace, or school to collect old batteries for recycling. It’s clearly marked with a graphic so everyone knows what it’s for, while a safety lid keeps batteries in and children out.

Interesting Facts About Batteries

What better way to round off our battery recycling guide than to treat you to some interesting facts? Here are some facts about batteries that we came across.

  • The UK sends more than 20,000 batteries to landfill every year.
  • The average person in the UK uses 21 batteries each year.
  • It takes 50 times more energy to make a battery than a battery actually gives off in its lifetime.

We hope our guide has enlightened you on the how, where, and why of battery recycling. Want more interesting articles and facts on recycling and sustainability? Check out the rest of our blog.

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