Powering ahead: CastleCourt shopping centre got a bit of help from local school children Ria Tohani (4), Nikhil McFaul (6) and Josh Mussen (6)
Powering ahead: CastleCourt shopping centre got a bit of help from local school children Ria Tohani (4), Nikhil McFaul (6) and Josh Mussen (6)

Belfast’s flagship shopping centre is calling on local school children in the Belfast area to go green and recycle their old batteries as part of CastleCourt’s Big Battery Weigh-in, which will see participating schools compete to collect the most used household batteries it can for recycling.

The shopping centre, which has already won awards for its green initiatives, is urging local school children to think beyond traditional paper and plastic recycling and to consider how they dispose of their common household batteries which are often used for toys, remote controls and electronic games.

Centre Director, Paul McMahon said:

“Many of our local schools recognise the importance of recycling in all its forms and the benefits it brings to our environment. However, there are some products, such as batteries, which are extremely important to recycle because of the contaminating, hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc and manganese which they contain.

“Worryingly, in 2011, less than 10% of batteries in the UK were recycled, which is why it is so important that they are disposed of correctly. In fact, just one battery can contaminate 40 litres of water for 50 years.

“We hope that, through the Big Battery Weigh-In, we will help encourage more people to recycle their batteries to reduce waste and help protect the local environment.”

The school which recycles the most will win a £500 CastleCourt voucher and a visit from the local recycling centre.

CastleCourt shopping centre has a strong reputation for its environmental efforts and in 2012 was awarded the SCEPTRE award for its recycling strategy which saw more than 6000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill sites around Northern Ireland over 12 months.

New regulations which came into force in 2010 require recycling levels to rise to 45% of batteries placed on the market by 2016. This equates to over 500 million batteries.

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