Did you know that dead batteries can still be put to good use?

In the UK, we use and throw away up to a billion batteries every year, or the equivalent of at least ten each. That’s a lot of batteries! But what happens to batteries once they’re no longer working?

Dead batteries actually contain lots of valuable materials that can be recycled and used to make new things.  

More and more people are recycling their old batteries each year. In fact, in 2019, 24% of UK households said they have either started recycling batteries, or are recycling more dead batteries than they used to*.

However, despite this, fewer than half of all the batteries discarded in the UK are currently recycled properly, which means millions still end up in the rubbish bin where they can become zombies.

*Source: WRAP 2019

Photograph of many different types of used batteries

How to recycle your used batteries..

Once they’ve run out of charge, all the batteries you use in electronic devices at home can be recycled for free by taking them to your nearest council Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) or to a battery collection point often found in supermarkets, DIY stores, and many other public places. Some local councils also offer a kerbside battery recycling service, making it even easier to recycle them responsibly.

Car batteries, or other large or specialist battery types, can be recycled by taking them to a car-battery recycling point at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. Also, car garages will often take your old battery to be recycled when they replace it with a new one.

Find out how you can recycle all sorts of batteries.

What happens to batteries once they’ve been deposited at a recycling point or collected by your local council?

Step 1

Once you have taken your batteries to a recycling point, they are collected securely and taken to a specialist sorting facility where they are sorted into their many different types.

Step 2

Each type of battery will then go through a different mechanical or chemical recycling processes to recover valuable materials.

Step 3

The materials recovered from the recycling process are used to make new things.

Batteries contain plastics, metals, minerals and precious or rare elements like gold, silver or palladium – which can all be recycled!

How are batteries recycled?

What happens when you recycle batteries?

Want to help with the fight against zombie batteries?

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