Recycle your batteries

 Removed from batteries, the metals can be re-used for a variety of purposes. Picture: Liesl Clark.

Removed from batteries, the metals can be re-used for a variety of purposes. Picture: Liesl Clark.

It’s not so long ago that chucking batteries in the bin seemed like the best way to get rid of them. 

But a new campaign by environmental charity Hubbub and compliance scheme Ecosurety, entitled #BringBackHeavyMetal, is asking people to recycle their batteries instead, by raising awareness of the environmental costs of throwing batteries into landfill and letting people know just how valuable batteries can be as a resource.

    Batteries are made of reusable heavy metals including lead, mercury and lithium. In landfill, these leach into ground and water supplies, posing really serious environmental risks for environment, humans and wildlife alike. 


    Removed from batteries, the metals can be re-used for a variety of purposes. 


    In new research by the partnership, almost 52 per cent of those surveyed admitted throwing batteries in the bin; less than half knew just what was in them. Last year, only 44% of the UK’s used batteries were collected for recycling. 

    Research also found that 178 million batteries are stashed in UK homes rather than being recycled, as if people weren’t quite sure what to do with them.


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    Now they will. Major high street retailers including Asda, B&Q, Currys PC World and Marks & Spencer are backing the campaign by hosting public collection points. 

    Retailers who sell more than 32kg of batteries a year are already required to provide collection points, yet they are not always visible. Those backing the new campaign have committed to making sure these facilities are in the spotlight.

    Hubbub CEO and co-founder Trewin Restorisk said: “The #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign introduces some unmissable and fun reminders at participating retailers which we hope will help raise awareness of how important - and easy - it is to recycle batteries.

    If you need a pub-ready fact to boost motivation, the campaign has discovered that 178 million batteries are the equivalent of 55,794 Ozzy Osbournes (72.57kg).

    Currently, recycled batteries are being taken to a plant in Belgium but a new recycling plant opens in the UK later this year. It will be able to process 20,000 tonnes of batteries a year, giving it enough capacity to deal with all the UK’s current batteries.

    Let’s give them something to work with.


    For recycling locations and advice, visit www.bringbackheavymetal.co.uk 

    Use the #BringBackHeavyMetal hashtag when sharing on social media

    www.hubbub.org.uk