I’ve been trying to find a way to recycle my old batteries. Unlike in Germany or Belgium where you can just dump them in bins at electrical retailers, no one wants to take them here. My useless local council—Southwark, whose recycling offering is so limited that they won’t even take brown paper—has one place that takes them, but it’s inconveniently located at the other end of the borough, out of my way.

Sainsbury’s, however, have managed to get favourable press out of their battery recycling offer.

From November [2006], Freepost envelopes will be available in stores nationwide to allow customers to send off their old batteries, as well as mobile phones and inkjet printer cartridges, all of which will be re-used or recycled.

The idea is that you pick up a freepost battery recycling envelope from one of their stores, put your batteries in it, and stick it in the post box.

It’s a great idea, except that none of their stores seem to have any of these mythical envelopes, or even any idea what I’m talking about when I ask for one.

I’m sceptical that these envelopes actually exist. It would, after all, be a great way to get positive media coverage without it actually costing anything.

Is it just another example of greenwashing by the supermarkets, or am I too cynical? Has anyone actually managed to obtain one of these recycling envelopes? Prove me wrong!