The impact of battery recycling on the UK environment and economy

Thursday, May 2, 2024
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Pile of batteries

Whilst the awareness of recycling batteries may be on the rise, the negatives of the improper disposal of batteries still exist, taking their toll on the environment through the means of battery fires across recycling plants and polluting the environment.


More than 20,000 tonnes of batteries are sent to landfill each year in the UK - that’s more than 800 million batteries!


Why do batteries pose such an environmental risk?

The production of batteries includes raw materials being mined, processed, and turned into batteries and then waste. The standard alkaline battery is made of zinc, manganese, steel, and potassium. As these materials are not renewable, when they are discarded in landfill they are lost forever. Pollution from manganese and steel mining has a large effect on the environment, however, by reusing and recycling these materials we help prevent further harm to the environment.


From what we know about the Iron Mountain Mine in California, despite not being used since 1963, it is predicted will continue to pollute nearby water for at least another 3000 years. However, despite not being infinite, these materials are classed as being ‘infinitely recyclable’. This means that if batteries are recycled correctly, we can prevent up to thousands of years of pollution.


This improper disposal of batteries causes continual environmental damage:

·        Toxic materials in batteries (mercury, cadmium, zinc) can leak into water sources from landfill and make their way into our food chain via aquatic life contamination.

·        accidental or improper incineration of batteries can release manganese dioxide in to the air which can cause irreversible damage to the eco system and human health

·        batteries can explode, causing injury or property damage



How battery recycling effects the UK economy

When batteries are discarded rather than recycled, we after forced to use new materials in the production of batteries. This results in the process being more costly and requires more energy. Suffice to say, when we do recycle our batteries, we can reuse the materials again. This results in lower production costs, thereby allowing batteries to be competitively priced and therefore cheaper for purchase.


How to recycle batteries

Batteries can be deposited and recycled at one of our battery collection bins, which can be found through the locator on our website. Battrecycle have over 30,000 battery collection bins located across the UK to ensure a nationwide coverage for battery disposal consisting of shopping centres, supermarkets, and smaller retailers.


­­What are you waiting for? Find your nearest battery bin today and amp up your recycling game!

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