There are 178 million batteries hoarded in UK homes with millions more ending up in landfill. This is despite most large retailers providing battery recycling points. A new partnership between Hubbub and compliance scheme Ecosurety is urging UK households to Bring Back Heavy Metal and recycle their batteries.

Used batteries have a value

A public survey discovered that less than half of people realise batteries are made of valuable heavy metals which can be reused; including lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, manganese and lithium. These toxic contents can be hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly. Just over half of respondents admitted throwing batteries away in the regular waste bin resulting in millions every year ending up in landfill, with the potential to pollute water supplies if not carefully managed.

Have a battery amnesty

#BringBackHeavyMetal encourages people to take part in a battery amnesty this October and drop their batteries off at their nearest collection point. The campaign brings together a coalition of well-known retailers including Asda, B&Q, Currys PC World, The Entertainer, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons who all host battery collection points.

The campaign seeks to engage people on social media using the #BringBackHeavyMetal hashtag. A new website has been created providing recycling locations and tips for reducing the environmental impact. Three spoof heavy metal videos have been created to further spread the message.


Hubbub has also been collecting spurious heavy metals facts discovering that the 178 million batteries are the equivalent of:

  • 28,982 Meatloafs (at his peak in the 80s he weighed 139.7kg)
  • 55,794 Ozzy Osbournes (72.57kg)
  • 1,115,814 Flying V guitars (3.62874kg)

Behind the light-hearted approach are some hard-hitting facts. In 2016 only 44% of the UK’s used batteries were collected for recycling. That’s 380 tonnes short of the collection target, yet this new research shows that there is more than ten times the amount of the shortfall stashed away in people’s homes. Currently the batteries that are recycled are being taken to a plant in Belgium but this is about to change with the opening of a UK plant.

The campaign will also highlight that any retailer selling a significant number of batteries are obliged to have battery recycling points for customers. These can often be hard to find and 40% of people surveyed said they’d like better visibility of recycling points. All of the supporting businesses have vowed to make their collection points more visible to the public.

#BringBackHeavyMetal is the first partnership campaign between Hubbub and EcoSurety and is partly funded by Packaging Waste Recovery Notes. Through the campaign the partners want to demonstrate that this funding source could be an excellent way to boost UK recycling rates.

Image from Siddv.