Ecosurety, the UK’s leading resource efficiency specialist with services including environmental compliance and intelligence reporting, has added more than 1,600 battery collection points to www.recyclenow.com’s Recycling Locator tool. These newly added drop-off locations have been provided by some of Ecosurety’s largest members as well as collection partners that include Currys PC World.
With the Recycling Locator tool informing consumers where they can recycle specific items in their local area, the additional locations are touted as making it easier for consumers to know where they can recycle spent or unwanted batteries, and help the UK increase its battery recycling rate.
Robbie Staniforth (pictured), commercial manager at Ecosurety, and one of the instigators of the plan to add additional recycle points, commenting in relation to bolstering the UK’s battery recycling infrastructure said: “Today there are so many locations that now accept batteries, but consumers need to be aware where they can easily take their discarded batteries, especially if they are concerned about how to dispose of them correctly themselves.”
UK collections of batteries such as those found in cameras, laptops, mobile phones, torches and toys last year fell just short of the 45% collection target. However, it has been estimated that there are 20,000 tonnes of batteries languishing in drawers that could be recycled, but which will eventually find their way into general waste and landfill.
According to provisional figures published earlier this year by the Environment Agency, a total of 17,232 tonnes were collected for treatment by compliance schemes throughout 2016 - missing the overall collection obligation of 17,289 tonnes by a narrow margin.
This latter figure was based on a target of 45% of the average annual amount of portable batteries placed onto the market by producers in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Lead acid batteries accounted for 49% (c. 8,745 tonnes) of the UK’s overall collection rate, although they only made up around 6% of the total tonnage placed onto the market over that time period.
Earlier in 2017, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) urged more consumers to take batteries to collection points following a number of batteries caught fire during domestic collections.
And this Autumn, Ecosurety collaborated with environmental charity Hubbub on a campaign called #BringBackHeavyMetal to encourage more consumers to take their unwanted or spent batteries to retailers to be recycled.
According to Reduce Reuse Recycle (www.reducereuserecycle.co.uk) it takes 50 times more energy to make a battery than it gives during its life and people in the UK throw away over 600 million batteries each year.
Ecosurety, which is committed to reducing the environmental impact of UK businesses while improving performance and helping to drive ever greater efficiencies of resource use, counts over 1,000 customers including The Co-operative Group, Innocent and Virgin Media. It is targeting to influence over one million tonnes of waste by 2020.
Linda Crichton, head of Recycle Now, which was as set up in 2004 by WRAP to encourage recycling in the home, said: “Our ambition with the Recycling Locator is to make it easier for everyone to know where they can recycle any item in their area; and by adding more than 1,600 battery recycling locations to the Locator, Ecosurety is helping us to achieve that goal – ultimately reducing the number of batteries going for disposal.”
By law, many retail companies must provide provisions for free battery takeback if they sell or supply more than 32kg of consumer batteries a year, which equates to four ‘AA’ batteries per day. Further information on which companies fall under this obligation, can be found here. For more information on Ecosurety see: www.ecosurety.com.
John Howell, Chief of Thought Leadership and Editorial Director, is a co-founder of 3BL Media, the parent company of Triple Pundit, begun in 2009. Howell oversees original editorial content procurement and creation. He is also the author of the weekly Brands Taking Stands Newsletter. He has written and edited for Elle, Artforum, High Times, the New York Times Magazine, and the LA Times. Howell is based in Wonalancet, NH.