Press release: Loving abuse to make us hand in our spent batteries

Loving abuse to make us hand in our spent batteries

In Denmark, we return 0.44 kg of batteries per inhabitant for recycling each year. While that may sound like a lot, it’s only half of the total. At the same time, a new study shows that 810 tonnes of batteries end up in our bins or in ‘small combustibles’ at the recycling centre every year and therefore end up going up in smoke at the incinerator. We can do better than that, which is why Elretur is launching a new campaign featuring Bodil Jørgensen giving us some loving abuse.

Across the country, there are big differences when it comes to how many spent batteries are returned for recycling. In 2020, the national average was 0.44 kg of batteries per inhabitant. Copenhagen is above average at 0.52 kilos, while for Aarhus the figure is 0.32, for Aalborg it is 0.42 and for Odense it is 0.36 – below the average. But Denmark’s best municipality is Lolland, where 0.86 kilos of spent batteries are returned per inhabitant. In 2nd place, we find Hjørring at 0.78 kg, while 3rd place is occupied by Fredensborg at 0.76 kg.

“Collecting spent batteries is a complicated challenge and there are many factors involved. The municipalities make a huge effort, and it literally makes a ton of difference,” says Morten Harboe-Jepsen, CEO of Elretur.

In 2020, we purchased a total of 5,057 tonnes of batteries, while 2,655 tonnes of spent batteries were returned for recycling, representing 53%. But where do the rest go? A new analysis carried out by Econet for Elretur shows that 400 tonnes of batteries are discarded with household waste every year, and 410 tonnes of batteries are deposited in ‘small combustibles’ at recycling centres. But some of the spent batteries simply lie around at home in a drawer or an old box.

“Although we are well on our way, we need to get even better at sorting our spent batteries properly and making sure they are returned. Batteries contain a lot of rare raw materials that are difficult to extract from nature, so there are great environmental and economic gains to be made if even more batteries are sent for recycling,” says Morten Harboe-Jepsen, CEO of Elretur.  

Send a bit of loving abuse to someone you care about

We Danes know that it is almost a civic duty to sort and return batteries for recycling. That’s why Elretur doesn’t believe in pointing fingers, but instead sees humour and satire as a good way to give us that extra reminder that can make all the difference in remembering to hand in our batteries. To give us this reminder, actress Bodil Jørgensen has been enrolled once more, serving up dry one-liners to put her “husband” Claes in his place when he doesn’t live up to the expectations – despite the fact that, like many Danes, he is committed to the green transition and sustainability. And if you know someone who, like Claes, could do with a bit of loving abuse, Elretur has made a series of short sequences with Bodil Jørgensen that you can send to each other.

“Bodil Jørgensen is perhaps the best in Denmark at mixing painful satire with scolding of adults. The issue is serious enough, make no mistake. But we believe that we can go much further with humour than by pointing fingers. And we are grateful that Bodil has agreed to help us once again,” says Morten Harboe-Jepsen.

Selected loving abuse that can be shared

The campaign addresses a number of themes, including:

Example of loving abuse, for the animal lover: [sound of a dog barking] – Where the hell is it? … Well, if it were up to me, the shit would go up the dog, the dog would go in the car and the car would go out of town. But most importantly, batteries need to be recycled. NOW!

Example of loving abuse, organics enthusiast: – God, we’ve heard a lot about your holier than thou, organic self-sufficient lifestyle. But if you’d care to remember the batteries, I’ll personally come shit in your compost heap to make it bloom before you can spell the word bumpkin.

Link to all loving abuse segments https://elretur.dk/farvel-batteri/ 

Drop-off options in your municipality

How you sort and dispose of your spent batteries depends on several things, including your municipality of residence and type of housing. However, you can always take your batteries to the recycling centre. Click this link to find out more about the options in your municipality https://elretur.dk/farvel-batteri/ 

Fact box: Why batteries should be recycled

  • Spent batteries are harmful to nature
  • You can help to ensure that useful raw materials such as iron, manganese and heavy metals are recycled
  • If they end up in your bin, they will be incinerated, and the good raw materials will be lost
  • Batteries that are handed in are sent to plants where the raw materials are extracted and recycled

Background on battery collection

For further information

About Elretur

Elretur is Denmark’s largest producer responsibility organisation, representing many different industries and types of companies. We handle producer liability for electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and batteries on behalf of our more than 850 members.

Elretur is a non-profit organisation providing responsible and cost-effective collection and handling of approximately 80 per cent of the electronic and battery waste delivered to the country’s recycling centres.