South Tyne and Wear residents in the North East are changing lives with new recycling campaign

Under a new initiative which launched across South Tyne and Wear earlier this month, householders are supporting vulnerable people through recycling.

Reconomy Group company Valpak’s latest #PowerToDoMore campaign donates money to the Changing Lives charity every time someone recycles a small electrical item or battery at one of four local household waste recycling centres in Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside.

People visiting the council recycling centres can scan a unique QR code to record the waste electrical items they’re recycling, with £1 donated for every small appliance or battery recorded.

Changing Lives works with people in crisis or those needing support to overcome serious challenges that can limit their opportunities. It helps people to develop the skills and self-belief to achieve a better future.

Nigel Tomlinson, Commercial Manager at environmental specialist Valpak, said: “The new scheme is set to donate £5,000 to Changing Lives. In the current circumstances, more people than ever are facing challenges in life, so it’s important to help where we can. This initiative has the added advantage that it also makes a huge difference to the environment by raising awareness about the recycling of batteries and small electrical items.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage more people to dispose of small electrical items and waste batteries correctly. Many small WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) items and batteries are thrown into general waste and recycling bins, which causes a high risk of waste fires. Of the 200 fires experienced by UK waste facilities every year, 48% are caused by batteries. Like the rest of the UK, the North East has suffered from battery-related fires, with five fires recorded over a three-week period in April this year.

Battery fires are typically caused by lithium-ion batteries which can self-ignite if damaged or crushed. As the number of cordless products found in households grows, so does the number of used batteries finding their way into waste and recycling bins.

Councillor Linda Green, Cabinet Member for Communities and Volunteering at Gateshead Council, said: “Fires caused by batteries that have been put into household waste or recycling bins and then damaged during waste processing is becoming an increasing problem, with a number of recent near misses across the partnership area, where only the rapid response of emergency services prevented a more serious situation developing. Batteries should always be disposed of responsibly, and by recycling them at your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre, residents can now give a little back to help support the most vulnerable in our communities.

To take part in #PowerToDoMore, householders can scan QR codes at four local household waste recycling sites:

  • Cowen Road, Gateshead, NE21 5TW
  • The Recycling Village, South Shields, NE34 0NU
  • Beach Street, Sunderland, SR4 6BU
  • Campground, Springwell Road, Gateshead, NE9 7XW

The #PowerToDoMore campaign has already raised more than £5,000. Earlier this year, Valpak donated £5 to MIND for every free-of-charge battery recycling box ordered by businesses.