Bebat, the non-profit responsible for encouraging us to recycle our old batteries instead of throwing them in the trash, has decided to get rid of its familiar plastic collection bags, for the sake of the planet.
The plastic bags are simple to use. You pull one off the hook in the supermarket or hardware store, take it home and use it to keep all your used batteries. When it’s full, or when you remember, you take it back to the shop and dump it in the Bebat bin for collection and recycling.
The campaign has been a success. In recent years they’re distributed 4.5 million bags via commercial networks and their own. But the price has been heavy: 13.5 tonnes of plastic being used and disposed of in a year.
“Because the collection figures in Belgium have soared in recent years, Belgians today seem clearly convinced of the importance of battery collection and recycling. It seems that the ideal moment has come for Bebat to make the collection method more sustainable and to adapt it to an evolving battery market,” the company said.
The cardboard collection box has been around for some time, but that too has undergone a remake. It now has two sections: batteries that pass through the round hole can be taken to school and handed over there. Batteries that pass through the rectangular hole can go back to collection points in commercial properties.
And if neither of those is true, the battery will have to be taken to the container park to be disposed of correctly.
To put it simply: get hold of two boxes and use one for each type of battery. And never throw batteries away in the household waste.
Bebat was created in 1995 as a non-profit organisation by the battery production industry, to stimulate the recycling of old batteries, for the sake of the environment and the re-use of materials. By 1998 it had recycled 100 million batteries, and by 2007 one billion.
In 2016 it merged with Recybat, which had been responsible for taking back old car batteries and other types of heavy batteries, providing a one-stop shop for all battery matters.