Recycling Batteries

Put a spark into your battery recycling!

Can i recycle batteries?

Yes, most batteries can be recycled. Many local authorities will take them at their recycling centres. Many large supermarkets such as Tesco & Sainsbury’s also have collection points located in their stores for recycling household batteries. Other stores that sell batteries may also collect them under the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations 2009.
Many of our household items are run on batteries. The 3 main types of battery we use are:
  1. Dry cell non-rechargeable – These are the most common battery used in households. These are the batteries we use in items like remote controls, toys, torches, clocks and watches. Dry cell batteries consist of an electrolyte in the form of a paste with only a small amount of moisture allowing the current to flow. There are different types of dry cell batteries all made up of different components. For example, zinc chloride and zinc carbon used commonly in low drainage items and alkaline manganese which are longer lasting.
  2. Dry cell rechargeable – These are used in mobile phones, shavers, lap-tops and other cordless appliances.
  3. Wet cell – The batteries used mainly in automotive, cars being the most common use of wet cell batteries. Most garages will accept your used car batteries and most recycling centres now have the facilities to safely store them. The recycling of car batteries means extracting the silver or lead from it which can turn out to be quite a lucrative process! As opposed to the dry cell battery, the wet cell battery uses a liquid electrolyte. A primary wet cell battery is not rechargeable therefore has no use once it has exhausted its energy, and the secondary wet cell battery can be re-charged.

Why recycle batteries?

There are many reasons why batteries should be recycled. Firstly, when they are not properly disposed of, they may leak toxic chemicals into the land fill sites that many end up in. Other reasons include:

  • Less than 2% of disposable household batteries are recycled leaving the rest to be sent to landfill.
  • The average household uses 21 batteries a year.
  • The UK generates 20,000 – 30,000 tonnes of waste general purpose batteries every year, but less than 1,000 tonnes are recycled. 
  • As prevention is always better than cure, switching as many of your battery used items to the re-chargeable kind (nickel metal hydride variant) or better still solar powered items are the way to go! If you can’t do this then make sure you are recycling batteries correctly!