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WasteCare invests in UK battery recycling hub

Waste manager WasteCare has started operations at the UK’s first full-scale household battery recycling facility following approval from the Environment Agency regulator.

The EUR 2.2 million facility in Elland, West Yorkshire can handle 25 000 tonnes of household batteries per year. The site is fully automated and will process mixed consumer batteries from collection points across England, Scotland and Wales.

This means it can recycle 100% of the UK’s spent alkaline and zinc carbon batteries, allowing them to be treated domestically rather than being exported. WasteCare estimates that alkaline and zinc carbon batteries account for approximately 80% of those sold in the UK.

The recycler anticipates great results from an innovative sorting process that first separates batteries by size and type. They then enter a processing unit that boasts specially designed filtration and environmental monitoring systems. The batteries are pulverised before moving on to a multi-staged separation and extraction process. WasteCare says this allows the component materials to be separated and reused by manufacturers as secondary raw materials.

Company coo Graeme Parkin says he is proud to have delivered a world-class facility. ‘It represents the first phase of our ambitious investment programme to develop UK-based recycling solutions for other battery chemistries to meet the projected demand in the UK. We are already at an advanced stage in developing a downstream process that will allow raw materials to be reused directly in battery manufacturing and this plant should be operational towards the end of 2021.’

Parkin claims WasteCare has played an integral part in increasing the UK’s consumer battery collection rate from 3% to 45% over the past decade. The company has become one of the UK’s largest collectors of household batteries making more than 50 000 collections per annum from major retailers, businesses and schools.

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