The #BringBackHeavyMetal campaign was created by Ecosurety and Hubbub in 2017 due to the fact that the UK gets through 40 million tonnes of portable batteries per year, and a recycling rate of less than 45% means that 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, to take them along to their nearest collection point.
A new initiative for 2018
For 2018 the campaign features a new initiative to test the impact of home battery collections on recycling rates for the first time. Throughout October Currys PCWorld customers will be encouraged to recycle used batteries they have in their homes when they are having new appliances delivered and installed.
This concept is being tested across a fleet of 365 vans and the used batteries will be returned back to regional depots for onward recycling, after customers have deposited them in collection containers carried by the installation teams.
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.
To enable a consistent and strong message to be shared with consumers throughout October, a number of retailers are supporting the campaign online including Morrisons, Sainsburys, Lidl, The Entertainer and Currys PCWorld.
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.
Educating consumers is critical
Commenting on the 2018 launch of #BringBackHeavyMetal, 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.”
Currys PCWorld is owned by Dixons Carphone. Matthew Manning, Compliance and Recycling Operations manager for the company, commented “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.”
Make it as easy as possible to recycle
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.”
Whilst it is crucial to increase UK battery recycling rates, it is also important that there are sufficient UK battery recycling facilities. Currently the UK exports the majority of its batteries for treatment overseas to countries such as Poland, France and Germany. To help reduce this dependance on exporting waste batteries, Ecosurety 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.