Move will help planet and the public purse

Cllr James Macnamara of Lower Heyford with battery recycling bag.'111219M-A544
Cllr James Macnamara of Lower Heyford with battery recycling bag.'111219M-A544

WITH battery-operated toys and games having featured on many a Christmas wish list, Cherwell District Council is now making it easier for householders to recycle all the used batteries that may now be lying round the house.

In a move that’s set to be good for the environment and for the public purse, Bicester residents will soon be able to include batteries with their kerbside recycling.

Cherwell District Council (CDC) already collects about seven tonnes of batteries per year through its 34 recycling sites, which brings in a revenue of about £1,400.

Now it plans to provide every household with a handy bag so householders can simply put used batteries out with their rubbish.

The district council hopes this will encourage people to send many more batteries for recycling rather than simply put them in the bin.

According to an EU directive, a quarter of all batteries must be recycled by next year and that figure will rise to 45 per cent by 2016. This is important because many batteries contain harmful metals such as lead, mercury or cadmium. If sent to landfill, the metals can leak into the ground, and could potentially pollute the water supply.

Cherwell’s lead member for environment, James Macnamara, said: “Everyone has an obligation to protect the environment but we want to make that as easy as possible.

“Along with the winter edition of Cherwell Link, all homes should receive a battery bag which they can start using straight away.”

He said there are sure to be thousands more batteries in use after Christmas and CDC wants to try and ensure as many as possible are recycled.

The bags are being funded by the council’s battery recycling contractor, Valpak. All people need to do when they have spent batteries is drop them in the bag and, once it is full, put it out with their bins.

When the refuse collectors pick this up, they will deliver a new bag.

Other types of bag, such as sandwich bags, can also be used, and batteries can still be dropped in the containers at recycling banks.

Most types of household battery will be collected but car batteries are not included as they are considered hazardous due to their acid content.