15 November 2018 by Joshua Doherty

WasteCare looks to 2019 opening of battery plant

Recycling firm WasteCare has said that trials of a pilot recycling plant for portable batteries have proved a success and a larger plant is set to open in the New Year.

Part of the pilot plant in Halifax

The company has been recycling portable batteries through its ‘pilot’ alkaline battery recycling plant in Halifax since late 2017. The plant, explained WasteCare, is currently processing more than one tonne of batteries per-hour and “its productivity continues to increase as further improvements are made”.

The pilot plant has been a great test bed for the new larger plant which is currently being installed and which should be operational in January 2019, the company noted.

The Halifax Battery Hub sees waste batteries brought in from collection points across the UK, through a nationwide WasteCare collection network of waste transfer stations. Batteries are then sorted into the different types of battery, based on chemistry.

Process

The alkaline battery recycling process sees alkaline batteries initially loaded onto a conveyor belt via a vibrating hopper. The batteries are then fed into a hammer mill where they are crushed. The crushed batteries are then separated into three fractions: ferrous metal, paper and plastics, and a so-called ‘black mass’.

The black mass contains zinc and manganese oxides as well as carbon black. WasteCare said that this material is “bagged in sealed UN approved packaging and transported to Northern Europe for recycling of the zinc and manganese. The recycling efficiency is well above the minimum European regulatory requirement of 50%,”

Dave Reynolds, group technical director at WasteCare, said the project is ‘progressing well’

Once completed, WasteCare said that the new facility will have the capacity to process “the entire alkaline battery recycling demand in the UK, which should increase to around 20,000 tonnes per annum”.

BatteryBack

BatteryBack, is said to be the waste battery compliance scheme with the largest obligation of any scheme within the UK, and services a large number of major retailers in terms of used battery collections, which will be used to supply the facility.

The WasteCare Group purchased Veolia’s 50% shareholding of BatteryBack in 2016, with Dave Reynolds leaving Veolia after more than 25 years and joining WasteCare as the group technical director.

Speaking to letsrecycle.com about the ongoing development of the battery recycling facility, Mr Reynolds said: “Our plans are progressing well. It has been a long and sometimes difficult process but we are pleased with progress and our pilot plant is processing more batteries than we anticipated. It has been a great learning experience and we look forward to recycling the first batteries through our larger, improved plant in January.”

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