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Young people are the biggest culprits when it comes to disposing of batteries in an environmentally responsible manner

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Young consumers are being urged to stop throwing away used batteries as a new survey shows almost half of 18-34 year olds throw them in the bin.

he study by WEEE Ireland found that despite warnings of environmental and safety risks from improper disposal of used batteries, there is an urgent need for behavioral change among the younger generation.

“They are often lauded as the most environmentally conscious, yet the survey shows that a worrying 43 per cent of adults under the age of 34 actually throw their used batteries in the general waste bin rather than recycle them,” said Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland.

“Disposing of batteries means that a number of truly valuable resources are never recycled. We need a fundamental change in behavior in this cohort to properly address the issue.”

He is now urging all consumers to recycle at least two more AA batteries this year to ensure Ireland meets recycling targets.

Empathy Research’s survey of 1,000 people shows more than a quarter (28 percent) of people are unaware that batteries contain valuable resources like cobalt, zinc, nickel and lithium that can be reused.

Those over 55 are the most environmentally conscious, with just 9 pieces binning batteries – the lowest of any age category – while 81 pieces know they contain valuable materials.

Only 2 percent of those over 55 stockpile them, but for those aged 18 to 34, that figure jumps to 26 percent.

Data across all age groups shows that overall 16 percent of the population disposes of batteries and 6 percent hoards, while the vast majority who recycle them are retailers (47 percent), recycling centers (17 percent), WEEE collection events in Ireland (16 percent) and uses local schools (11 units).

Separate data from WEEE Ireland shows that Ireland will achieve a battery recycling rate of 46 percent in 2021, meeting its obligations under the EU Directive.

The amount of batteries recycled by Irish households increased by 16 per cent, in line with increased consumption and use of batteries in everyday products.

The recycling peak equates to 15 AA batteries saved from landfill per person – an increase of two per person from 2020.

“This small change has made a big difference, and we’re urging everyone to recycle at least two more AA batteries again in 2022 to meet our goal — and stop and think before we throw them in the trash,” he said Mr. Donovan.

“Professional disposal of used batteries is as easy as consumers pack them up when they next go shopping or on their next recycling trip.

“Any retailer or supermarket that sells batteries will take them back for recycling. That’s in addition to the hundreds of recycling centers across the country.

“For the millions of batteries that are improperly recycled each year, we lose valuable elements and vital resources that can only be replaced through degradation. The environmental and social costs of extracting and processing the materials required to manufacture batteries can be enormous.

“The world will need a lot less mining for materials if we can recycle more of the used ones.”

However, Mr Donovan said that as battery sales increase to meet growing demand for electric vehicles and e-mobility devices, those goals will become more difficult to achieve unless we make a habit of recycling more.

Every battery recycled by WEEE Ireland goes into a charity fund to support the vital work of LauraLynn, Ireland’s only children’s hospice. This year’s donation of €40,000 brings the total to €520,000 since the partnership began 11 years ago. Visit weeeireland.ie for more information.

https://www.independent.ie/news/youngsters-are-worst-offenders-when-it-comes-to-disposing-of-batteries-in-an-eco-friendly-way-41632044.html Young people are the biggest culprits when it comes to disposing of batteries in an environmentally responsible manner

Fry Electronics Team

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