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You're in charge – don't bin your batteries

You’re in charge – don’t bin your batteries

10 August 2018

When sorting and recycling at home, there are some items that shouldn’t go into your general waste bin, including batteries. But do you know how to recycle batteries?

Most people are aware of the items that shouldn’t go in the general waste bin but not always sure of the reason why.

Household batteries are classed as hazardous waste as most batteries contain harmful heavy metals like lead, copper, cadmium, lithium, mercury, zinc, magnesium and potassium.

These metals are dangerous to health and the environment, and if disposed of in the general waste present a significant fire and pollution risk. Batteries can ignite inside a refuse truck when the compactor is used or inside a waste transfer station.

Around 600 million UK household batteries (22,000 tonnes), the equivalent weight of 110 jumbo jets, are sent to landfill unnecessarily every year.

The average household uses 21 batteries a year, all of which could be recycled.

There have been two fires recently at Lincolnshire County Council’s waste transfer station in Boston, which has led to urgent warnings being issued there not to place batteries or electrical items in the general waste.
 
Even dead batteries carry enough charge to short and provide a source of ignition. This could become buried in a pile of as much as 100 tonnes of combustible waste.

What types of batteries can I recycle?

  • All household batters including ‘button’ batteries from watches

  • Battery packs from laptops, mobile phones, power tools and remote control units (put electrical tape over the terminals)

  • Car batteries, by law, must not be disposed of with household waste

Where can I recycle batteries?

  • Car batteries can often be left with a specialist who replaces your battery or they can be taken to one of the Household Recycling Centres to be recycled in the car battery disposal area.

  • Household batteries and battery packs can be recycled in your green box. Please put batteries into a clear plastic bag and place it on top of the cans and glass so that it is visible. A separate container for collecting household batteries is also available at the Household Recycling Centres.

Shops selling more than 32kg of batteries a year (approximately 345 packs of four AA batteries) have to provide battery recycling collection facilities in store. This means there are now lots more places where you can take your old batteries for recycling.

You can do your bit to help reduce the amount of batteries being recycled by using rechargeable batteries instead. This saves energy because the energy needed to manufacture a battery is on average 50 times greater than the energy it gives out. While the rechargeable cells have a higher initial cost, rechargeable batteries can be recharged many times.

To find out what can and can’t be recycled in North Lincolnshire, go to the waste and recycling pages.

Cllr Neil Poole, cabinet member for Commercial, said:

“There are lots of things that can be recycled that many people aren’t aware of or they are unsure on where they can be recycled.

“Batteries, if put in the general waste, can pose a real danger and we are urging people to make sure they recycle their batteries.

“If you are unsure on what can be recycled or where things can be recycled visit our website for more details, www.northlincs.gov.uk/waste.” 

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First Published:10 August 2018