In the UK, only about three to five per cent of all household batteries are recycled. You can help tackle this problem by recycling your batteries.
Why recycle your batteries?
Many old batteries end up in landfill, which is bad news because they sit there forever and the valuable chemicals and metals cannot be recovered for recycling.
Recycling stops batteries going to landfill and helps recover thousands of tonnes of metals, including valuable metals like nickel, cobalt and silver.
This reduces the need to mine new materials, cutting carbon emissions and saving resources.
Where can batteries be recycled?
Batteries should never be thrown away with general rubbish.
Retailers that sell batteries − from pharmacies to supermarkets − now also provide battery recycling bins/bins.
Several local councils also collect batteries in their doorstep recycling collection.
Check with your local district/borough council to find out whether you can recycle them through your kerbside recycling scheme.
What happens to the used batteries?
Recycled batteries are first sorted into different types − for example lithium, alkaline, lead cell, mercury button − as each type is recycled differently.
Lead acid batteries (used for car batteries) and mercury button cell batteries (flat, round, silver batteries found in watches) are fully recycled in the UK.
Lithium and alkaline batteries (AA, AAA and 9v batteries) are part-recycled in the UK. They are then sent to plants abroad for the rest of the process.
Other types of battery are sent abroad, as the UK does not currently have plants that can recycle these.
How to recycle car batteries
Car batteries are treated as hazardous waste.
They must not be thrown away with your household waste. Car batteries from private vehicles (not commercial) can be recycled at our Household Waste Recycling Centres.