Remploy powers into new battery recovery scheme

Posted on 26th September, 2008

Remploy e-cycle – part of Remploy, the UK’s leading provider of sustainable employment services for disabled people – is to play a significant role in the UK’s first-ever free national battery recovery service.

Launched on 1 July, the scheme enables batteries of any type and size to be disposed of in specially-designed ‘BatteryCans’ collection canisters which are to be stationed at more than 30,000 local authority civic amenity sites, schools and supermarkets in the UK.

Created by WeeeCare plc ahead of new Battery Recycling Regulations which are expected to be introduced after the European Battery Directive comes into force on September 26, the service is being operated by not-for-profit company BatteryBack.

The directive states that 25 per cent of all portable batteries must be recycled by 2012, rising to 45 per cent by 2016. Currently the UK recycles less than three per cent of portable batteries, with more than 30,000 tonnes of batteries being discarded every year.

For the launch of the service, WeeeCare – which manages the UK’s largest compliance scheme for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) – is combining their existing national collection network of over 28,000 sites with Remploy e-cycle and battery recycler Revatech to ensure the lowest battery compliance costs anywhere in Europe.

E-cycle’s involvement in the scheme will be the provision of a full and secure battery sorting service as well as pre-treating the collected batteries before recovery.

Tony Stroud, general manager of Remploy e-cycle, said:

“The growth of mobile communications and the use of power equipment has led to an increase in dependence on battery-powered equipment. E-cycle is delighted to be making a significant contribution to the ever-expanding battery recycling market.

“Items such as battery waste that were usually disposed of with all other waste now need to be handled individually and recycled where possible. WeeeCare Plc’s recovery scheme will enable manufacturers and importers of batteries to dispose of them responsibly and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. In addition, the association with e-cycle enables stakeholders to meet their corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives as they are helping to provide sustainable jobs for disabled people.”

E-cycle, which employs more than 230 people across four sites in England, specialises in taking IT equipment that has reached the end of its working life and refurbishing it to a standard that allows it to be re-deployed, sold or responsibly disposed of in accordance with data and waste legislation. This includes the EU’s recently introduced Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which aims to minimise the environmental impact of electrical and electronic equipment by increasing re-use and recycling, and reducing the amount going to landfill.

Peter Hunt, chief executive of WasteCare, WeeeCare’s parent company, said:

“The supply agreement with Remploy e-cycle to sort and pre-treat the batteries will be part funded by the value of recovered metals. We have the lowest collection cost structure in Europe, so the cost to retailers will be zero, whilst we expect the cost to producers to be no more than 1p per battery produced. This is less than a third of the cost being charged in most other EU countries.”

Tony Stroud added:

“Batteries contain hazardous material which, if consigned to landfill, can have an adverse effect on soil. Recycling batteries is a much more environmentally friendly and responsible approach.

“Businesses, including battery manufacturers, importers and retailers are also being increasingly dictated to by their customers, who see CSR as a priority. By working with e-cycle, that responsibility comes in the form of helping to provide sustainable jobs for the 230 disabled people it employs.”