Partnership set to launch UK’s first battery recycling plant

Resource efficiency specialist Ecosurety and reuse and recycling solutions firm Belmont Trading UK have partnered to develop the UK’s first battery recycling facility.

The partnership says it is aiming to begin processing batteries by November, and that it hopes that this domestic capacity, capable of taking up to 20,000 tonnes of waste batteries a year, will enable the UK to become self-sufficient in battery recycling as it prepares to leave the EU.

Partnership set to launch UK’s first battery recycling plant
Over 17,000 tonnes of batteries were collected for recycling in 2016, according to Environment Agency figures, just under half of all batteries put on the market. However, the UK currently has to ship batteries to Europe for recycling, and Ecosurety says that the plant – at Belmont’s Kilwinning site, near Glasgow – has the potential to lower the country’s waste export bill considerably by possibly halting this process. This, it says, would also impact costs for producers, which would be reduced due to the lack of export rates included on batteries.

Over £300,000 worth of equipment will be installed on the site by September this year to enable the sorting and shredding of batteries.

The partnership with Belmont Trading UK Limited ties in with Ecosurety’s target to influence more than one million tonnes of waste by 2020. Commenting on the partnership, Damian Lambkin, Head of Innovation at Ecosurety, said: “This partnership means the UK could potentially stop sending batteries abroad for recycling, reducing the additional environmental impacts of shipping tens of thousands of tonnes of potentially hazardous waste across the sea to Northern Europe every year.”

“It is also a big win for producers who will not have to cover the additional cost burdens of sending spent batteries overseas. This is proof that the UK waste and recycling industry can find its own innovative solutions to our waste resourcing issues through partnership working.” UK Managing Director at Belmont Trading UK Limited, Jeff Borrman, added: “This partnership dovetails with our core ethos to create ethical and responsible solutions that will make the world sustainable for future generations. We strongly believe that greater transparency between producers and reprocessors can revolutionise their relationships, a vision we know is 100 per cent shared by Ecosurety.”

Nick Purser, Communications Manager at WEEE, batteries and packaging compliance scheme European Recycling Platform (ERP), said: “Irrespective of Brexit, we think it is good that the UK is developing the infrastructure to treat batteries. There has been a lot of talk of this over the last 10 years and we welcome the move.” However, Purser noted that the only treatment process mentioned by Ecosurety and Belmont Trading is shredding. “Other recycling processes take place and many materials will still need to be exported onwards for further treatment.”

Last year Nick told Resource about the treatment process required to deal with the pollutants in batteries and recover the valuable materials in the safest and most efficient way.

He added: “Whether we stay in the European Union or not, the UK must continue to develop its recycling infrastructure and technology – and we will still need to import and export goods and materials all around the world.”

Related Articles