UK Bicycle Association To Roll Out Nationwide Battery Recycling Scheme

The goal is to minimize battery waste and maximize service life while ensuring safety and sustainability.

While electric vehicles of all types are generally agreed upon to be more sustainable than internal-combustion powered equivalents, they aren't without their issues. Apart, of course, from how the electricity we use to charge them is generated, there are other potential environmental hazards associated with EVs.

This is true for both large-scale and personal electric mobility devices, but is especially relevant for small personal mobility devices such as electric scooters and electric bicycles. Naturally, the batteries found in these machines tend to be much smaller, have a shorter service life, and aren't necessarily built to such exacting standards as those in their electric car counterparts. Luckily, there are quite a few initiatives geared towards more sustainable battery tech in personal mobility devices such as fully repairable batteries from Gouach, as well as multiple battery recycling initiatives.

The Bicycle Association (BA) in the United Kingdom is connecting riders and merchants with a new service that collects and recycles electric bike batteries. They've enlisted the help of European Recycling Platform UK (ERP UK) to handle the logistics and get things started. It's all in preparation for the eventuality that e-bikes will become increasingly popular in the near future, especially considering the growing number of people who have switched to e-bikes for their everyday mobility needs.
This idea is all about preventing used e-bike batteries from ending up in a landfill and harming the environment. The initiative will determine how to collect and recycle batteries effectively. It is based on comparable initiatives in other regions of Europe that include both e-bike manufacturers and retailers. Essentially, bike shops will function as drop-off locations for people's old batteries, making the entire process simpler and more affordable. The BA and ERP will test the plan soon and then roll it out across the UK later on in 2023.

Stephen Holt, the BA's retail trade head, stated in an article published in the British EV publication Move Electric that: “With millions of electric bike sales ahead of us, this is an exciting initiative that will make it easy for retailers to safely store faulty and expired batteries in one fireproof rated drum – with one phone call when full to get it swapped out. With the support of electric bike producers, we hope to provide a national network of hundreds of collection points convenient for customers.”

Meanwhile, ERP is already promoting a a recycling-focused industry in other regions of Europe with similar e-bike battery recycling operations and other innovative initiatives. That is, they focus on reusing or recycling items that might otherwise be discarded. By doing so, they are preventing old batteries from becoming trash and giving them a second life in various ways, such as repairing them or utilizing them for less intensive uses. It's both good for the environment and good for the economy, as at the end of the day, recycled batteries command a much smaller premium than brand new ones.

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