Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Battery recycling available now in Lewisham libraries

A good bit of news this week from the Council's waste team - battery recycling points are now available in libraries across the borough.

Lewisham Council has teamed up with the environmental organisation BatteryBack to encourage residents to dispose of their batteries in a 'BatteryCan'.

In the UK we recycle less than 3 per cent of our batteries, compared to over 50% in Belgium.

Batteries contain various hazardous metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, manganese and lithium. It can be damaging to the environment to mix them in with normal domestic waste. And, as the Council press release rightly points out, the materials that can be recovered from the correct treatment of batteries are the very same that are being mined (at great cost) in other parts of the world; therefore battery recycling helps to conserve more natural resources.

And for anyone who thinks that the European Parliament is a completely useless institution that doesn't ever do anything, this has all come about as a result of European legislation, backed by the Greens, back in 2006. The European Directive states that 25 per cent of all batteries placed on the market must be recycled by 2012, rising to 45 per cent by 2016. Currently, the UK recycles less than 3 per cent of portable batteries, with more than 30,000 tonnes of batteries being discarded every year. I'd like to think that this would all have happened in the UK without the European Union, but in this case it definitely seems to have dragged us towards where we need to be far quicker than would otherwise have happened.

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