Milton Keynes Council recycled 14 tonnes of batteries last year

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THE city’s weekly refuse and collection service is running on full power – with more than 14 tonnes of batteries recycled in the last year.

It follows the introduction of Milton Keynes Council’s battery recycling scheme one year ago.

The authority is one of only 16 across the country working in partnership with environmental solutions company, Valpak, which extracts chemicals and metals from batteries for recycling.

The scheme sees residents keep a yellow bag, provided by the authority, and place used batteries in it. When they have several – at least 10 – the bag is sealed using an adhesive strip and placed on top of the green food and garden waste wheeled bin.

Every time a filled battery bag is left for collection, the collection crew leaves a replacement bag tucked under the lid of the green bin.

All portable household batteries are accepted, including rechargeable or non-rechargeable, sizes AA, AAA, C and D, 9 volt, button and any laptop or mobile phone batteries. Power tool batteries can be accepted as long as they fit inside the battery bag. Car batteries and lead-acid batteries cannot be accepted and these should be taken to one of the council’s three Community Recycling Centres.

More than 600 million batteries are thrown away in the UK each year, with only four per cent of household batteries recycled. This means that of about 25,000 tonnes of waste household and industrial batteries generated in the UK each year, just 1,000 tonnes is recycled.

Most batteries contain heavy metals. When disposed of incorrectly these can leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes and can contribute to soil and water pollution, endangering human health and wildlife.

The council’s head of environment and waste, Andy Hudson, said: “We’d like to congratulate the residents of Milton Keynes for their enthusiastic participation in our battery recycling scheme – over a tonne of batteries recycled each month is a significant amount. By removing these potentially harmful batteries from landfill we are saving money and helping our environment.”

A spokesman from Valpak added: “Valpak would like to thank the residents of Milton Keynes for their efforts in helping the UK to recycle more batteries.

“With challenging EU battery recycling targets to meet, which increase each year, we can only achieve these targets if people get behind local battery recycling schemes. The residents of Milton Keynes have shown they are more than willing to recycle their batteries and their support enables us to recycle and reuse the materials found in all collected batteries.”

Yellow battery bags can now be found at libraries and council offices.

Alternatively, residents can request a bag by contacting the council’s Environmental Services Contact Centre on 01908 252570, emailing recycling@milton-keynes.gov.uk or by completing an online form at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/recycling.