Bring Back Heavy Metal

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Bring Back Heavy Metal

When it comes to recycling, plastic bottles, paper and cans are a no-brainer, but do batteries come to mind? For many of us, batteries are more commonly stashed at the back of cupboards and drawers rather than on our to-do list for recycling. So much so, a whopping 178 million used batteries are estimated to be stashed across UK homes. However, they contain valuable materials including lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, manganese and lithium which can be reused when collected in the right way.

Bring Back Heavy Metal is an online campaign to boost awareness and remind people to dig out old household batteries and bring them back to be recycled at the nearest collection point.

Watch this!

Why aren’t batteries getting recycled?

Polling data from Hubbub, 2017

  1. A nation of battery hoarders

    62% of us hoard batteries at home leading to overfilled and cluttered drawers and cupboards.

  2. People don’t know they can be recycled

    All retailers that sell batteries have a legal requirement to collect used batteries, yet only 45% of batteries get recycled. Many of us aren’t aware they can be recycled and third of us don’t know where to take them at all. Communications and recycling points aren’t visible enough.

  3. They’re easy to forget

    Small, tucked away in drawers, batteries aren’t top of the list when we head out. A third (33%) of us forget to dig them out before we head out.

  4. They’re a hazard

    Storing batteries near other metal items can start fires, but 71% of us are unaware. Half of us (52%) have even thrown batteries in a regular waste bin, despite lithium-ion batteries being responsible for almost half of waste fires in the UK each year!

Bring back your batteries, #BringBackHeavyMetal.

We leant into the theme of valuable heavy metals and heavy metal music to create a series of memorable and playful digital music video ads that spread the news that batteries are recyclable, to dig them out relieving drawers and cupboards of clutter, and to bring them back to any retailer or battery recycling point. The Bring Back Heavy Metal website locates local battery recycling points.

We also collaborated with high street retailers including Curry’s PC World, ASDA, M&S, B&Q, The Entertainer and Morrisons to make in store battery recycling signage much clearer.

What difference did we make? 

During the campaign month (October 2017 and 2018) the campaign media coverage created 58 million opportunities for people to hear about battery recycling. The music video ads were viewed over 300k times. In October 2018, there were 2,562 visits to the Bring Back Heavy Metal website and 77% of people who headed to the website searched for their nearest battery recycling point.

What you can do

  • Switch to rechargeables! They're better for the environment and save money, waste and hassle in the long run.
  • Charge up with renewables Tap into unlimited energy with wind-up radios or torches, dynamo bicycle lights or a solar powered gadgets.
  • Recycle your batteries. Find a collection point near you, and then let your friends and family know too.

Want to know what else contains precious metals?

Your phone and other electrical items contain them too! Check out our phone redistribution campaign Community Calling to find out more.

Curious for more?

Check out our tips and tricks for saving money, and doing good for the environment.