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The UK Improving its Battery Recycling Efficiency

Posted on 21st December 2017 by Hintons

recycling batteriesA much needed boost to the UK’s battery recycling processes is impending, and aims to bring the country to self sufficiency when it comes to recycling portable batteries.

Recycling in the UK is set to adapt to the oncoming Brexit changes, and the previous 100% rate of export for collected batteries is something that definitely needs to change. In this article, we’re looking at how the UK is taking control of its own battery recycling future.

Processing plants

Changing the way Britain processes and recycles batteries is a major fundamental shift, and it wouldn’t be possible without the development of two battery processing plants: one in Halifax, Yorkshire and the other based in Kilwinning, just outside of Glasgow.

The introduction of these two plants will give the UK its very first dedicated battery processing stations. Not only will this make battery recycling easier and more convenient,  it will also make it cheaper.

How it used to work

The traditional battery recycling process used in the UK is carried out in two stages: collection then export. Loose batteries which have been left for recycling, by the public or by businesses, are picked up from designated collection points, then transported to processing facilities. But because the UK has historically lacked a processing plant for these batteries, they had to be exported out of the country in order to be recycled.

Currently, 100% of collected batteries are exported from the UK – which presents a significant cost.

How it could work

It is estimated that the two processing plants are capable of handling up to 20,000 tonnes of batteries annually, enough to cover the UK’s entire battery waste output. Those in charge of the plants aim to negotiate with battery collectors to become the de-facto destination for used portable batteries. If this comes to fruition, only 15-20% of batteries will need to be exported (down from the current 100%). The remaining percentage represents lead-acid batteries which the plants are currently unable to process. While these would still need to be exported, the sheer reduction in volume of exported waste will be enough to save substantial sums on waste exports – which could potentially be enlarged once Brexit negotiations have taken place.

Becoming self sufficient

Keeping the whole process within UK borders will have a tremendous environmental benefit. When you cut out international shipping of batteries, you reduce the environmental impact associated with physically transporting large volumes of hazardous waste.

The journey from, say, a recycling bucket in a supermarket to the battery processing centre will be greatly shortened. Made much more efficient. This is the goal both plants wish to achieve.

While promising, in order to attain full processing and recovery rights to the collected batteries throughout the UK, negotiations with current battery collectors need to be successful.

BatteryBack – the country’s largest battery collection service – is already intrinsic to the development of the Halifax plant, but other collection companies such as G&P batteries still need to be brought on board. It will be a case of proving both the environmental and cost benefits of re-routing the collected batteries to UK-based plants, while establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship with these collectors.

Hinton’s Waste are providers of reliable recycling services across London and Croydon, serving domestic and commercial customers alike. We aim to help make recycling in the UK as simple and efficient as possible, so if you have waste you need to dispose of promptly, contact us today.

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