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Cumbria launches ‘baa-ttery’ recycling campaign

Cumbria has launched a campaign aimed at boosting battery recycling rates in the region.

Batteries should never be disposed of in regular waste or recycling bins. When damaged during the transportation or treatment process, they have the potential to explode or ignite

Dubbed the “baa-ttery” campaign, it aims to raise awareness about battery disposal issues and to encourage the recycling of used batteries commonly found in household items such as toys, phones, electronics and vapes.

The region has reported that “3.2 million” batteries are being discarded in Cumbria’s waste stream annually, equivalent to the weight of “over 3,650 Herdwick sheep”.

As part of the campaign, waste management company, Renewi, has collaborated with the Reconomy brand Valpak to distribute battery boxes to schools.

Students will be encouraged to participate in the campaign by bringing their used batteries to school. Once the battery boxes reach capacity, they can be collected at no cost by contacting the number indicated on the box. Upon collection, a new empty box will be provided as a replacement.

The launch event took place at the Hespin Woods site, with representatives from Cumberland Council, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service, Plus3K and Valpak in attendance.

Increase

Nick Blake, contract director at Renewi, said: “We are seeing an increase in the number of fires at both MBTs in Cumbria as a direct result of batteries being placed in household bins. Disposable vapes are the latest problem, as they contain lithium batteries, which causes explosive reactions during our treatment process putting our employees and facilities at risk”.

Danger

Hayley Slack, community education liaison officer for Renewi, added: “Most people don’t think anything of putting a few batteries in the bin, not realising the dangers or even that they should be recycled. On average, every person throws away 6.5 batteries each year which equals over 3.2 million batteries in Cumbria alone.

“3.2 million is a huge number of batteries but unless you can visualise the scale of the problem it means nothing. 3.2 million batteries equal the weight of over 3650 Herdwick sheep. What is more Cumbrian than a sheep to represent the scale of our problem?

“The campaign has been designed to be appealing to children, featuring a sheep as its mascot. The ‘baa-ttery boxes’ are available to all businesses and organisations across Cumbria.”

Industry

Renewi, operates two Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facilities in partnership with Cumberland and Westmorland & Furness Councils, manages household waste, processing over 110,000 tonnes of residual household waste annually and diverting it from landfills.

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