“Batteries can burn and fires can kill – Recycle batteries separately” is the strong message leading our new campaign urging people to ‘BeBatterySavvy’ and recycle their batteries separately and safely.
What is it about?
The campaign has come about after a series of battery-related fires across the recycling and waste industry. If electrical products with batteries still inside are put into recycling banks with other electrical items or into a rubbish bin, they can be damaged during transport or handling and potentially cause intense fires. It’s for this reason we want you to take the batteries out of your waste electrical appliances and recycle them separately.
We are trialing this at two Household Waste Recycling Centres in Merseyside:
Old Swan Household Waste Recycling Centre, Cheadle Avenue, Liverpool L13 3AF
Huyton Household Waste Recycling Centre, Wilson Road, Huyton L36 6AD
What do I need to do?
Please, where possible, take the batteries out of your waste electrical appliances and recycle them separately in the new blue ‘battery’ container. Your waste electrical appliance can then be recycled as usual by placing it in the ’small appliances’ container.
Waste electrical appliances with plugs and those with integral batteries can also be recycled by placing them into the ‘small appliances’ container.
How long will the trial last for?
It will run from June – October 2019.
Why are people being asked to take the batteries out of their electrical appliances?
Batteries can catch fire if they are damaged during the recycling process. We need people to be savvy and not discard their used batteries inappropriately e.g. put in the household waste bin or left in electronic appliances when they are thrown away or recycled.
Won’t putting all the batteries together create a bigger fire risk than leaving them in the items?
No – putting batteries safely in battery recycling containers ensures they are purposely identified and can be sent to specialist recycling facilities. The batteries are carefully handled and collected in specialist containers which store, handle and transport the batteries appropriately and safely.
There is a greater risk if batteries are not removed from small appliances because when these items are sent for recycling and processing, they are moved around by heavy machinery and the batteries in them can be easily damaged, which could cause fire.
Not all electrical items have removable batteries – some batteries just can’t be removed – what happens to these?
There are a number of electrical appliances and products where the batteries can’t be removed easily – in this case we ask that you place these in the ‘small appliances’ container for recycling.
What happens to the batteries and small appliances?
Batteries collected in the new blue ‘Battery’ container are sent to WasteCare in Halifax where they are sorted into different battery chemistries (Alkaline, NiCad, NiMH, Lithium primary, Lithium-ion, button cells, lead acid). Any rubbish or non-battery material is removed. Alkaline batteries are recycled at Halifax (first and only plant in the UK). The lead acid batteries are also recycled in the UK. Currently, the other battery chemistries are sent to specialist battery recyclers in northern Europe. Small appliances with and without batteries collected in the ‘small appliance’ container are taken to Viridor in St Helens – one of the most sophisticated WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) recycling plants in the UK. Here they treat all types of WEEE including Fridges, TVs, domestic appliances and computer equipment.
Who is behind the campaign?
The campaign is funded by the WEEE Fund and supported by a number of waste management companies involved in the collection of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and batteries for recycling, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
For more information about the campaign please get in touch via our online contact form at www.merseysidewda.gov.uk/contact-us.
If you are looking for your nearest Recycling facility please visit www.merseysidewda.gov.uk/waste-recycling/household-waste-recycling-centres-hwrcs.