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Used batteries ‘hoarded in homes’ could boost recycling

The shortfall in meeting the battery recycling target could be eradicated if the public recycled the used batteries ‘hoarded’ in UK homes, compliance scheme Ecosurety has suggested.

used batteries campaign

According to the research, six in ten people in the UK hoard batteries in their homes

According to research for Ecosurety and the environmental charity Hubbub, six in ten people in the UK hoard batteries in their homes. And, the study estimated that this means that 27.1 million households have 6.57 used batteries (averaging out figures from the survey) making a total of 178 million used batteries available for recycling.


The release coincides with the launch of a #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign today, to encourage the public to take part in a ‘battery amnesty’ this October and drop their batteries off at their nearest collection point.

Commenting on the UK’s recycling performance for batteries, James Piper, managing director of Ecosurety said: “In 2016 only 44% of the UK’s used batteries were collected for recycling. That’s 380 tonnes short of the collection target, yet this new research shows that there is more than ten times the amount of the shortfall stashed away in people’s homes.”

The overall collection obligation in 2016 was 17,289 tonnes – 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. (see story)


According to Hubbub, less than half of the people surveyed (47%) realised that batteries are “made of heavy metals which can be reused, including lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, manganese and lithium”.  And, the charity said half of the respondents (52%) admitted throwing batteries away in the regular waste bin.

The research carried out involved a survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,055 UK adults conducted by Censuswide in August 2017.

The #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign is also supported by manufacturer GP Batteries and compliance scheme BatteryBack run by WasteCare. It brings together well-known retailers including Asda, B&Q, Currys PC World, The Entertainer, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons, which all host public collection points.

Trewin Restorick, CEO and co-founder of Hubbub said: “The #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign introduces some unmissable and fun reminders in store at participating retailers which we hope will help raise awareness of how important and how easy it is to recycle batteries.”


used batteries campaign

The #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign encourages the public to drop their batteries off at their nearest collection point this October

Ecosurety’s James Piper added: “We will soon have the facility to recycle batteries in the UK for the first time and we hope that people will be inspired by this campaign to empty their drawers, keep their used batteries out of the regular waste bins and drop them off at a recycling point instead.”

The call for recycling batteries comes as Ecosurety’s battery recycling plant near Glasgow, in partnership with recycling firm Belmont Trading, is expected to start operation later this year. A second facility run by WasteCare and BatteryBack is due to start processing alkaline batteries in Halifax, Yorkshire, in Autumn 2017. (see story)
More information on the Bring Back Heavy Metal campaign, including recycling locations can be found at