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Reduce Reuse Recycle - Your Green Guide      

Where Can I Recycle....Batteries?

A Battery
Image Credit: R. Chidambaram

Whilst figures vary for how many batteries in the uk are recycled each year, it is clear that only a small proportion of the portable batteries used in the UK are recycled.

A portable battery is any battery that can be easily purchased and carried by a consumer, so it refers to AA and AAA batteries, the sort of button batteries used in watches, as well as any used in hand held appiances such as electric toothbrushes and hand held vacuum cleaners and those used in mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

It does not include car batteries or industrial batteries.

The UK's collection target for used batteries, set by the EU, was just 10% in 2010 when battery recycling regulations were introduced, rising to 45% in 2016.

  • Any shop which sells more than 32Kg of batteries per year must provide some sort of battery take back facility. Most larger retailers have a container that customers can put their used batteries in, and this service must be provided free of charge to consumers.
  • Most council recycling centres will accept batteries.
  • Many local councils will collect used batteries as part of their roadside collection service, but they may need to be kept separate from your other recycling, for example my local council asks for them to be put in a see-through plastic bag and placed on top of the recycling bin.

Batteries contain many chemicals which are harmfull to the environment, and if they are put into the dustbin and go to landfill they will eventually leach these chemicals into the soil.

You can minimize your use of disposable batteries by:-

  • Using rechargable batteries wherever possible.
  • Using electrical equipment using mains power rather than battery.
  • Use solar powered items such as garden lights, and wind up gadgets such as torches and radios..

But never, never stint on battery use in your smoke alarm and CO2 alarm. These items could save your life.

For more information on battery recycling for manufacturers, retailers and consumers visit Batteryback, which is the UK's official organisation for battery recycling compliance.

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