February 01, 2007

The Batteries Recycling Issue

BatteriesIt´s been a while since I wrote about British Peculiarities. But here´s another one. My question being: why is there a sheer absence of willingness to separate and recycle batteries?

It might come as a surprise to most UK students, but it equally surprised me when I first came to Warwick some years ago, that students simply binned empty batteries along with all the other rubbish. From young age, I had been trained into the Pavlov-reaction of “don´t do that”! In fact, the first term, I thus decided to take everybody´s empty batteries with me to Holland, to see to their decent recycling in a bin especially appointed for this matter.

A friend protested: “But there isn´t anywhere to recycle them in the UK!” Don´t whether this is true or not, but messy garbage collection experiences have grown to such proportion that I have come to connect them to the British mentality. A certain defeatism; yes, we know, everything on the continent is better. We know, we´re lagging behind, but it just won´t work for us as it does for you.

This attitude for me makes for a real British peculiarity.


- 4 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Steve Rumsby

    Here in Coventry we have kerbside collections of of garden waste (composted on a local farm) and paper (recycled). There are collection points for glass and other things at various places around the city (at Cannon Park, for example, as well as places here on campus). Not all recyclable stuff has collection arrangements, though. Everything else has to be taken to the central waste processing plant (aka “the tip”) to be recycled. And I’m not sure that they have collection facilities even there for dry cells. Lead-acid batteries (e.g. car batteries) yes. Dry cells, no.

    Some of our lack of recycling in this country is laziness. Some of it is lack of facilities. And the facilities vary around the country.

    01 Feb 2007, 17:01

  2. In Warwickshire – cetainly in Kenilworth & Leamington you can recycle both batteries and plastic. Not in Coventry. Coventry incinerates most of its waste.

    01 Feb 2007, 17:22

  3. Steve Rumsby

    The plastics issue is interesting. The nearest plastics recycling plant is currently in Liverpool, so all the plastic that is taken to Kenilworth for recycling is put on a lorry and driven to Liverpool. Since Coventry have an incinerator, and one that generates electricity in fact, they have decided that the environmental impact of driving the stuff 120 miles up the M6 car park is greater than that of burning it.

    There are discussions underway about the possibility of building a plastics recycling plant in the Midlands (Aston?). If that happens, Coventry will review its policy and almost certainly start recycling rather than burning plastic.

    I must make enquiries about battery recycling…

    01 Feb 2007, 17:30

  4. Nick Howes

    I have never seen a battery recycling facility; but then I’ve never looked that hard. I try to replace all my batteries with rechargables so that I don’t have to keep throwing them away (and buying them!).

    On the topic of recycling, it’s a bit annoying that although Warwick council will take away bottles and paper away in the red box, they refuse to take away cardboard boxes, even if it’s plain and unwaxed! Isn’t it just thick paper?

    I think facilities over in Holland do seem a lot better though, as I kept seeing them in all sorts of places around Utrecht.

    02 Feb 2007, 08:21


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