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29.01.2021, 08:21

Cycling Towards Net Zero

Valpak is celebrating a recycling award for its carbon-free battery collection service which uses cycle couriers to collect waste batteries from workplaces in Cambridge and London.


Cyclists use reverse logistics, picking up batteries after dropping off parcels at offices and retail outlets. The scheme has already collected 6.974 tonnes – equivalent to 348,700 waste batteries – and Valpak is hoping to expand it to other areas of its national collection network.


Valpak pioneered the service, working with logistics partner Zedify and battery recycler Ecobat Logistics. On 27 January, it beat 12 other shortlisted companies to win the Partnership Excellence award at the National Recycling Awards, the recycling industry’s most prestigious ceremony. The judges said they were impressed with the scheme’s innovation, adding: “It could be replicated at a local level at a number of locations, and we can see others adopting it in the future.”


Any business can sign up for free Valpak battery collections, which accept any small household batteries. James Nash, Commercial Manager at Valpak, said: “We are all extremely proud to have undertaken such a worthwhile project. Being able to offer carbon friendly collection services in large areas, on top of free battery bins and free recycling across the entire UK, is a real achievement. The latter alone stops harmful substances entering the environment or being placed into the wrong bin and sent to landfill. To add such an eco-friendly transport initiative to this is a significant bonus.”


Around 40,000 tonnes of portable batteries are sold in the UK each year. However, many batteries are placed in general rubbish bins and not recycled. In 2018, only 8,000 tonnes were recycled. Without the correct treatment, these waste batteries leak toxic waste and can cause dangerous fires in recycling facilities.


Through its #PowerToDoMore campaign, Valpak recently raised £5,030 for local charity Springfield MIND, by donating £5 for every battery collection box ordered. Over the course of the campaign, 1,006 battery collection boxes were ordered; once full, this represents 15 tonnes – or 750,000 AA batteries – to be collected.


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 (photo: Julian Portch)
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