First Mile powers-up sustainability with new battery recycling service

Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 08:23
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Leading recycling and sustainability company, First Mile, has introduced a new scheme to recycle rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIB), commonly found in everyday handheld electronics, such as mobile phones and laptops, as well as electric scooters, bikes, cars and vans.

First MileThis new battery recycling initiative will help businesses divert hazardous waste from landfill and protect the planet’s finite natural resources.

The recent legalisation of rental e-scooters to ease pressure on public transport, along with growing commitments from companies to move their fleet to electric and the increasing popularity of electric vehicles among the public, all mean that LIBs are becoming more commonplace, and demand for them will increase. Indeed, it is predicted that by 2030, two million metric tons of used LIBs will be generated across the world every year.1

Over time, LIBs degrade and come to the end of their rechargeable life and it is at this point that they are often deemed useless and destined for landfill. However, LIBs contain precious metals and elements that can be recovered.  Our world is fast-running out of these finite resources, further exacerbating the need for recycling and the avoidance of landfill sites. LIBs should never be placed in general waste – as well as precious metals and elements, they also contain hazardous chemicals meaning that if handled incorrectly, they pose a greater risk of fire and environmental pollution.

All of the LIBs collected by First Mile will be responsibly stored and then safely transported to specialist recycling facilities in mainland Europe. Here, a state-of-the-art recycling process that uses auto-thermal heat treatment and mechanical treatments will recover aluminium, copper, nickel cobalt, and steel from the batteries.

Speaking about the new LIB recycling service, Bruce Bratley, CEO and founder of First Mile, said: “Adding LIB recycling to our suite of recycling services is a really positive step forward for an item that has gained in popularity over the years, starting from consumer electronics and, more recently, the growth in the use of electric vehicles.

“At First Mile, we know from our own green fleet just how much of a positive difference that switching to electric vehicles can have on the environment, but, it’s vitally important that green intentions are maintained throughout the lifecycle of a product. Recycling all components of a product at the end of its useable life is the best way to divert waste from landfill and safeguard our planet’s natural resources.”

First Mile can provide LIB collections of up to 30kg with fees calculated on a cost per/kg basis.  Additional services can be provided for heavier collections, as well as damaged LIBs.  First Mile will provide recycling reports and all compliance documentation at no cost to customers, and all LIBs are trackable from the point of collection, until they reach their final recycling destination.

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