Recycling batteries


Did you know that each year in the UK we throw away around 600 million batteries?   

Laid end-to-end these batteries would reach from the UK to Australia and back again. That is a lot of batteries!

Why is recycling batteries so important?

Batteries can be found in every room in the house. They are used in electrical and electronic items, for example: toys, remote controls, mobile phones, alarm clocks and even doorbells. In fact, every person in Britain uses about 10 batteries a year! 

Thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions could be avoided if the UK meets its recycling targets. In the UK, around 40,000 tonnes of portable batteries were sold in 2020, with only around 18,000 tonnes being recycled.

Most batteries are put into rubbish bins and then taken to landfill sites. There are different types of batteries which can contain dangerous chemicals including: lead,cadmium, zinc, lithium and even mercury. 

Battery recycling

When batteries begin to rot away in landfill sites these chemicals may leak into the ground, which can cause soil and water pollution. When chemicals contaminate soil and water animals, humans and the environment can be harmed. 

Recycling is a great way to help protect the environment. Each battery placed in a recycling bin will be taken apart and the materials will be used to make something new.

   UK battery collection network

Since battery recycling laws came into force in February 2010, most shops and supermarkets that sell batteries have collection bins in-store for used batteries. In addition, some town halls, libraries and schools may have also set up collection schemes.
You can also recycle batteries at many Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Type your postcode into the recycle-more recycling locator to find where you can recycle your batteries.

Battery recycling bins cannot accept waste electrical devices where the battery is part of the device, no matter how small. This includes items such as e-cigarettes, calculators and mobile phones. These should be disposed of as waste electronics, usually an option at your Local Authority run household waste recycling centre.

If you have lithium batteries (identified by an “Li” in any part of the chemical marking) or button batteries to dispose of, the terminals of these should be taped up for risk of fire.