Best battery recycling methods explored

Three very different ways to recycle batteries are being put to the test in an attempt to pinpoint the most efficient way to safely dispose of them.

The techniques being explored by WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) in its battery recycling trials are in-store take back, with shoppers dropping off their spent batteries at major electronics retailers and supermarkets, conveniently located drop off points similar to the ubiquitous bottle banks and a postal collection scheme in which the public put their batteries in special envelopes and drop them in the post box.

WRAP is working with local authorities, community groups, leading retailers and Royal Mail to implement the new trials which start this month and will take place in England, Scotland and Wales over the next 18 months.

The new initiatives follow kerbside collection trials which were launched in April this year.

The kerbside trials already cover over 350,000 households and these new schemes will allow an additional 400,000 households to recycle all their used batteries.

Support for the retail take-back scheme has been secured from Argos, B&Q, Currys, Homebase, PC World and Tesco in Hampshire, Swansea and Perth.

The new community drop-off trials will be launched in two local authority areas later on in the year. These schemes will encourage local residents to take their used batteries to special battery collection points located across each area.

Special efforts are being made to include rural communities too through the new postal trials with the Royal Mail in Cumbria and Dumfries & Galloway. Residents in the trial areas will be sent pre-paid recycling envelopes to enable them to send back their used batteries for recycling free of charge.

Results from the different trials will help the government identify the best collection strategy, to enable the UK to meet the requirements of the EU Batteries Directive, which requires the collection of 25% of all household batteries for recycling by 2012.

Chris Davey, manager of local authority relations for WRAP, said: “These new trials complete the initial phase of our battery recycling work. I am delighted that so many partner organisations are working with WRAP to find out how we can best collect batteries for recycling in the UK.

“We hope to deliver a cost effective, long-term solution that will help us encourage behavioural change and turn the tide on the 600 million batteries currently being sent to landfill each year.”

Sam Bond

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