Currys PCWorld tests home battery collection to combat low recycling rates

Old battery leak isolated / Hazardous waste concept

Throughout October, Currys PCWorld home installation teams will be offering to take away customers’ used household batteries for recycling when they deliver and install new appliances.

The concept is being tested across a fleet of 365 vans as part of #BringBackHeavyMetal, a campaign run by environmental charity Hubbub with recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety to boost the recycling rate for household batteries, which currently stands at just 45%.

Each year the UK gets through 40 million tonnes of portable batteries, meaning around 22 million tonnes are either sitting in people’s homes, being dumped into landfill or incinerated.

Now in its second year, #BringBackHeavyMetal is encouraging everyone, during October, to search through kitchen drawers, under the stairs or wherever their unwanted batteries are discarded and take them along to their nearest collection point.

This year, for the first time, the campaign will also test the impact of home battery collection on recycling rates.

Currys PCWorld customers will be encouraged to recycle used batteries they have in their homes whilst they are having a new appliances installed.

A battery collection container will be used for customers to deposit batteries which will then be returned back to regional depots for onward recycling.

In addition to the home collection scheme, all of Currys PCWorld’s 322 stores will feature special battery bins and eye catching signage to encourage customers to drop in their old batteries, in conjunction with 10% off promotion in-store on a selected range of new batteries.

A number of other retailers are supporting the campaign online, enabling a consistent and strong message to be shared with consumers throughout October.

Hubbub will also be delivering a targeted social media campaign, including three impactful videos, to remind people to recycle their batteries and enable them to find their nearest collection point.

Hubbub CEO Trewin Restorick, said: “Batteries are made of valuable heavy metals which can be reused, including lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc and manganese. These toxic contents can be hazardous if not disposed of properly, yet half of the respondents to a Hubbub poll admitted throwing batteries in the regular waste bin.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle their used batteries so this year we are particularly excited that Currys PCWorld have agreed to test home collection through their delivery and installation service. We will be evaluating the success of this pilot and look forward to seeing the impact of the overall campaign on battery recycling rates.”

James Piper, managing director of Ecosurety said: “Educating consumers about why and how they can recycle their batteries is critical as we struggle as a nation to reach the recycling target of 45%. We hope this second edition of the campaign will have a positive effect on battery collection rates.”

Matthew Manning, Compliance and Recycling Operations manager for the company, said: “We always aim to ensure as many batteries as possible are handed in at Currys PCWorld for recycling and #BringBackHeavyMetal provides a great focal point for our work in this area. To be the first retailer to test home battery collections in this way is really exciting for us and our staff are proud to be involved in the campaign. We look forward to playing a key role in making this year’s campaign a real success.”

While it is crucial to increase UK battery recycling rates, it is also important that there are sufficient recycling facilities here. Currently the UK exports the majority of its batteries for treatment overseas to countries such as Poland, France and Germany.

Hubbub is pleased to continue its partnership Ecosurety which is working with Belmont Trading Ltd to create a recycling plant in Scotland that will have the capacity to deal with around 80% of the UK’s batteries.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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