Power to do more together: 6 reasons why you should recycle your waste batteries

Ellie Mitchell

July 14, 2020

It’s far too easy to throw portable batteries into a waste bin when they reach end of life. After all they take up little space and what harm can one little battery do? The stark truth is far too many householders are oblivious to the damage waste batteries can cause to human health, wildlife and the environment if they are disposed of incorrectly.

Our aim here at recycle-more HQ is to encourage the public to think before they throw and to make consumers aware of all available battery recycling routes.

We have listed six key reasons why you should recycle your waste batteries. Read on to find out more…

Portable batteries cause fires

Fire related incidences at Material Recovery Facilities are a frequent occurrence and often point to portable waste batteries (mainly lithium which can be found in items such as mobile phones) that have been incorrectly disposed of in general waste bins. These fires are costing Councils’ crucial funds, as damaged vehicles subsequently need to be replaced and remediation works need to be carried out, not to mention the threat to workers’ lives.

Batteries contain harmful chemicals

Batteries are hazardous to human health, wildlife and the environment if they end up in landfill as a result of being placed in a waste bin. They contain harmful chemicals, including acids and heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which leak into soil when they start to breakdown. These toxins pollute water sources and enter the food chain. It can take over 100 years for a battery to breakdown in landfill!

Reduces demand for raw materials

Recovering some of the materials found in waste batteries reduces the need to mine virgin materials to make new ones. Recovering these precious materials reduces battery production costs and subsequently brings down the retail price.

Reduces costs to Councils and taxpayers

Battery recycling helps to minimise waste operation, which is funded by Council Tax that householders pay. As mentioned previously, if batteries aren’t segregated they end up at Material Recovery Facilities where they cause frequent fires. These fires result in the costly replacement of vehicles and equipment, and the loss of other waste streams that are of value to Councils.

Certain battery chemistries must also be removed from feedstock that enters the energy from waste process. If the number of waste batteries entering the process is reduced the cost to Councils is also reduced.

Recycling can reduce the cost of new batteries

By recycling our waste batteries, we can directly ensure that secondary raw materials are used for forward manufacturing. Some of the materials recovered can be used again in new battery manufacture, which helps to reduce production costs and ensures that competitively priced products are available for purchase.

Batteries are easy to recycle

Do you know where your nearest battery recycling point is? Does your local Council collect waste batteries at kerbside?

It’s worth contacting your local District Council to find out if batteries are collected at kerbside. They will have this information on their website too. If this service isn’t available at kerbside, a vast number of organisations and retailers have joined a battery collection network, which means they will have battery collection boxes or tubes at their premises. All you need to do is remember to take your portable waste batteries with you when you go shopping or visit a public space.

An up-to-date list of collection sites can be found on our Bank Locator. Simply enter your postcode into the search box and select the category “Domestic Batteries” to find your nearest recycling point.

Remember, we’re all responsible. We all have the power to do more.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog represent those of the author, Ellie Mitchell, and are not those of recycle-more, Valpak Limited or any other organisation.