Campaign launched to encourage battery recycling as 178 million used batteries are hoarded in UK homes and millions more end up in landfill
The playful #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign launches today to encourage people to take part in a battery amnesty this October to drop their batteries off at their nearest collection point.
The campaign sees environmental charity Hubbub and Ecosurety bring together a coalition of well-known retailers including Asda, B&Q, Currys PC World, The Entertainer, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons, who all host public collection points, to make it easier for the public to recycle their batteries.
The manufacturer GP Batteries are also supporting the campaign with in-store and social media prizes of rechargeable battery packs.
To support the campaign a dedicated website has been launched, www.bringbackheavymetal.co.uk, plus viral videos and promotion of battery recycling points in-store and across social media.
The campaign highlights new research released today by Hubbub and Ecosurety that reveals six in ten people in the UK hoard batteries in their houses, adding up to a whopping 178 million batteries stashed in UK homes.
In heavy metal terms, the 178 million batteries are the equivalent of 28,982 Meatloafs at his peak in the 1980's, 55,794 Ozzy Osbournes or 1,115,814 Flying V guitars.
52% admit to throwing batteries away in regular waste
Less than half of the people surveyed (47%) realised that batteries are made of valuable heavy metals which can be reused, including lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, manganese and lithium.
These toxic contents mean that they can be hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly, yet half of the respondents (52%) admitted throwing batteries away in the regular waste bin. This results in millions every year ending up in landfill, with the potential to leach into the ground and water supplies if not carefully managed.
Batteries lying around the house can also be fatal to young children and pets if eaten. Whilst 82% of people are aware of this, parents of under fives are most likely to leave batteries lying around the house, with four in ten admitting they did so.
Trewin Restorick, CEO and co-founder of Hubbub said: “All supermarkets and other major battery retailers are obliged to have battery recycling points for customers, but these can often be hard to find. Four in ten people said they’d like better visibility of recycling points."
"The #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign introduces some unmissable and fun reminders in store at participating retailers which we hope will help raise awareness of how important and how easy it is to recycle batteries.”
380 tonnes short of the UK collection target
James Piper, managing director of Ecosurety said: “In 2016 only 44% of the UK’s used batteries were collected for recycling. That’s 380 tonnes short of the collection target, yet this new research shows that there is more than ten times the amount of the shortfall stashed away in people’s homes."
"We will soon have the facility to recycle batteries in the UK for the first time and we hope that people will be inspired by this campaign to empty their drawers, keep their used batteries out of the regular waste bins and drop them off at a recycling point instead.”
More information on the #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign, including recycling locations, tips for reducing the environmental impact of batteries and all three videos can be found at www.bringbackheavymetal.co.uk.
Hubbub is a charity which explores innovative ways to interest mainstream consumers in important sustainability issues, through different ‘hubs’ of activity: Food; Fashion; Homes; Neighbourhoods; Sport and Leisure. Hubbub’s previous campaigns have included #SquareMileChallenge, the UK’s first large scale solution to coffee cup recycling, #GiftABundle to get pre-loved baby clothes back into circulation and #PumpkinRescue to encourage more people to eat the carvings from their Halloween Pumpkins.
Founded in 2003, Ecosurety is the UK’s leading resource efficiency specialist with end to end services including batteries, packaging and WEEE compliance, training and waste collections. With more than 1,000 customers including The Co-operative Group, Innocent and Virgin Media, Ecosurety is leading change in approaches to environmental compliance throughout the UK, driving ever greater efficiencies of resource use.
Committed to reducing the environmental impact of UK businesses while improving performance, Ecosurety is targeting to influence over one million tonnes of waste by 2020.
Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.
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