The £2 million facility, located a few miles south of Halifax, is capable of processing 25,000 tonnes of household batteries annually. WasteCare suggests this means the plant can recycle all the UK’s spent alkaline and zinc carbon batteries, avoiding the need for them to be shipped to mainland Europe for treatment.
Graeme Parkin is chief operating officer of the WasteCare Group and has overseen the facility’s development. He said: “We are proud to have delivered this world class facility which has the capability to treat all of the UK’s alkaline batteries. It represents the first phase of our ambitious investment programme – to develop UK-based recycling solutions for other battery chemistries to meet the projected demand in the UK.
“We are already at an advanced stage in developing a downstream process that will allow raw materials to be reused directly in battery manufacturing and this plant should be operational towards the end of 2021.”
In its permit application WasteCare says alkaline batteries and batteries with zinc or manganese chemistry will be deconstructed in a hammermill to facilitate the recovery of four fractions. Other types of batteries including lead acid will be separated into their different types and sent for offsite recycling and recovery.
“We are proud to have delivered this world class facility which has the capability to treat all of the UK’s alkaline batteries”
Button cells, nickel metal hydride and lithium ion are among the other types of batteries the Halifax Battery Treatment Facility will accept.
The fully automated facility receives mixed consumer batteries from collection points throughout the UK.
A sorting process then separates them by size and chemistry. The alkaline and zinc carbon batteries enter a sealed processing unit with specially designed filtration and environmental monitoring systems.
The batteries are pulverised before moving on to a multi-staged separation and extraction process. This allows the component materials to be separated so they can be reused by manufacturers as secondary raw materials.
WasteCare has been recycling batteries through a small-scale pilot plant in Halifax since 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story). The larger plant had been due to become operational in January 2019 but suffered delays.
Via producer compliance scheme BatteryBack, a wholly owned subsidiary of the WasteCare Group, the firm makes more than 50,000 collections of household batteries from retailers, businesses and schools each year.