Today is World Earth Day! A day where those 3 golden rules of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle should be highlighted more than ever. It’s important that we try and cut down on what we throw away to make a better planet for everyone.
One thing that is especially important to dispose of correctly is batteries. The unsung heroes that power our portable life contain heavy metals which can be harmful. Batteries that are disposed of with other daily rubbish end up in landfill. Once there they corrode, releasing the heavy metals into the environment.
Unfortunately a lot of batteries end up in landfill, instead of being correctly disposed of. An estimated 15 Billion cells are thrown away each year, with the UK contributing 600 Million to that statistic.
Some local councils collect them as part of their household collection, but make sure they do accept them before you start putting them in with your other recycling. If they don’t collect them you can still drop them in to a battery collection point. You can find collection points wherever batteries are sold (such as supermarkets), or you can drop them off at your local recycling centre.
You can recycle all household batteries, including button and coin cells as well as battery packs found in Mobile Phones, Laptops, Power Tools and other equipment. Car Batteries however, should be recycled at designated collection points at recycling centres.
To find you closest recycling point please visit Recycle Now and scroll down to the “Recycling Locations for Batteries” section.
Switching to rechargeable cells where possible is a great way to reduce the amount of batteries you need to recycle. A normal rechargeable cell can be charged 500 times, meaning it will replace 500 disposable cells in it’s lifetime. When the rechargeable cell is at the end of it’s cycle life, simply recycle them just like any other battery.
Apart from the positive effects on the planet, switching to rechargeable batteries will also save a lot of money in the long run. If you want to make the switch to rechargeable, we recommend GP ReCyko+ 2000mah AA’s or GP ReCyko+ 850mah AAA’s
After you have disposed of your battery at a local drop-off point, it goes to a sorting centre where it is sorted by chemistry. Once sorted, the batteries are then broken up to extract the different elements. They then go through a screening process to separate the elements out. Each element of the battery is then correctly recycled or reused as appropriate. Some end up in some unlikely areas.
Some of these materials end up in very unlikely area; for instance did you know that Zinc and Manganese Oxide collected from battery recycling is used in sweetcorn fertiliser? You can see how they are used in the video below, along with the battery recycling process.
Remember this Earth Day to recycle your batteries and even better, switch to rechargeable!