ESA to launch battery recycling campaign

Early details of a new national campaign urging consumers to ‘Take Charge’ and recycle batteries responsibly have been announced by the Environmental Services Association today (19 August).

The campaign responds to the danger of discarding batteries in household waste or recycling bins, with around 25 per cent of all fires that occur in waste management facilities or vehicles caused by lithium-ion batteries.

Commissioned by the ESA on behalf of its members, the campaign has been called ‘Take Charge’. The campaign will not only encourage consumers to use battery recycling facilities, but it will also raise awareness about the wide-ranging devices that contain high-energy rechargeable batteries and help consumers understand how to recycle these devices.

This comes after the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) recently released a reminder to householders not to throw waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) into general waste or recycling.

The campaign’s concept, consisting of a dedicated website and social media sites, will feature dead batteries rising from the grave to terrorise waste management facilities. The campaign calls consumers to action to ‘join the fight’ against these zombie batteries. 

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The ESA will also seek feedback on the campaign from local authorities and other organisations involved in battery recycling to see how communications can be improved prior to the official campaign launch later this year.

Executive Director of the ESA Jacob Hayler said: “Our society is seeing an exponential increase in the use of high-energy rechargeable batteries across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, so we expect the number and frequency of battery-related waste fires to increase in future unless we can encourage consumers to use proper battery recycling infrastructure more often.

“Waste fires not only cause millions of pounds of damage every year and disrupt services but, more importantly, can put lives at risk, so this is clearly a serious issue facing the recycling and waste management sector.

“We hope that the Take Charge campaign, through its memorable theme, will provide fresh impetus to this important issue and help to raise awareness among consumers of the dangers posed when batteries enter the residual waste or conventional recycling streams.

“We are working to launch this campaign later this year and, in the meantime, would very much welcome support from any organisation that shares our commitment to tackling battery-related waste fires, by ensuring that more and more batteries are recycled responsibly.”