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In the News: The National Battery Recycling Campaign

In the News: The National Battery Recycling Campaign

In the News: The Top Recycling Stories Making the Headlines

The Environmental Services Association Launches a National Battery Recycling Campaign

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) is launching a new campaign later this year, urging people to recycle batteries responsibly.

The campaign, named ‘Take Charge’ will also aim to raise awareness about battery safety, to draw attention to the fact that 25% of all fires that happen in waste management facilities or vehicles are caused by lithium-ion batteries.

The campaign comes after the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) issued a reminder to householders to avoid putting waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) into their general waste or recycling bins.

Take Charge will have a website and social media channels, which will illustrate the problems that discarded batteries can cause by showing dead batteries ‘rising from the grave’ to cause havoc at waste management facilities. The message asks people to join the fight against the ‘zombie batteries.’


A spokesperson for the ESA said that the campaign is being launched in response to an increase in the use of high-energy rechargeable batteries in electronic devices. This increase in battery usage is expected to lead to an increase in the number of waste fires caused by improperly discarded batteries.

He went on to highlight that waste fires not only cause millions of pounds of damage, they also put lives at risk, and it’s hoped that the campaign will raise awareness of this serious issue.

Different types of batteries and what you should do with them

Batteries are classed as hazardous waste, as they contain chemicals so they should never be put in your waste or recycling bin.

Here’s an at-a-glance guide to the different types of batteries and how you should dispose of them.

Button batteries

This is the kind of battery you’ll find in the back of your watch. They are small, and sadly this means that people forget about them when they get rid of their devices. These should be taken to a designated collection point or recycling facility.

Car batteries

Most of the time you’ll just the need to recharge the battery, but if it’s completely dead, it should be taken to a recycling facility, garage, or car parts retailer for recycling.

Car Battery

Alkaline batteries

These are durable, high-powered batteries and they are used in things like torches and TV remotes (this is why it seems like your TV remote works for years!). These should be taken to a collection point or recycling facility for proper disposal.

Rechargeable batteries

These produce less waste, however there is a trade-off. Unlike their non-rechargeable cousin, the alkaline battery, rechargeable batteries contain mercury, nickel, and cadmium, which can leach into the environment and cause pollution and contamination if they are discarded in landfill. These batteries must be taken to a proper recycling facility or back to a retailer that accepts batteries for recycling.

Lithium-ion batteries

You’ll find these in your smartphone and laptop, and as you can imagine, with the global rise in smartphone ownership comes a whole load of excess lithium batteries that are often discarded in landfill. They need to be taken to a proper recycling facility because although they aren’t as toxic as some other types of battery, they are still classed as hazardous waste.

What can recycled batteries be used for?

Batteries are packed with precious metals that can be reused in lots of different ways.

  • The lead acid batteries you find in cars and forklift trucks contain lead, polypropylene, and gypsum which can be used to make filler for plasterboard and brand new batteries.
  • The nickel cadmium batteries you’ll find in your drill contain nickel, steel, and cadmium which can be used in different applications in the steel industry, and to make new batteries.
  • Zinc-based batteries, your general household batteries, contain steel, zinc, and manganese, and can be used in industry.
  • The nickel metal hydride batteries you’ll find in your mobile phone contain nickel and steel which is highly sought after by the steel industry.
  • The lithium ion batteries you’ll find in laptops contain cobalt and steel which can be used in other types of electronics and steel manufacturing.

Recycling Batteries

Do your bit to recycle batteries

You can ‘Take Charge’ of recycling batteries and do your bit by:

  • Buying rechargeable batteries. You can recharge them a few hundred times before you have to dispose of them.
  • Make sure you sort batteries into different types before you recycle them if you can. This makes it far easier to recover more precious raw materials.

Invest in a battery recycling bin

If you’ve had enough of having a drawer full of old batteries (you know the one!), why not invest in a battery recycling bin where you can store your old batteries safely until you can get to a collection point?

Our 3 Litre Coloured Battery Recycling Bin is child-proof and suitable for storing small and large batteries. It’s also made from 100% recyclable plastic and is dishwasher safe so you can give it a good clean out after use. It makes responsible disposal of all kinds of batteries a breeze.

Or our Transparent Battery Recycling Bin which comes in two sizes and colours is the best investment for supermarkets or other premises that are required by law to have battery recycling bins. If you want to find out more read our Guide to Battery Recycling.

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