Deep in the bowels of Zero Towers there once lay a bag of dead batteries. Used, forgotten and empty, these primitive single-use devices showed the folly of man. Nothing could be done with them. Batteries were designed to be binned. And binned they were, in numbers to boggle the mind: WRAP reckons we throw away 600 million of them every year, their materials never to be used again. They lie in landfill now, covering the surface of the earth in a demonstration of waste and pointlessness, like Westlife covering the work of Phil Collins.

Ours would have joined them but for the stubbornness of Mrs Zero who kept them in the belief that one day the means to recycle them would come. They have. This month saw legislation take effect that means shops selling more than 32kg of batteries a year will be obliged to take them back free of charge and arrange for them to be recycled, whether you bought them there or not. They will be passed to sorters who will in turn pass them to recycling plants in Europe.

So yesterday I minced into my nearest electrical retailer and handed over my bag of batteries. Doves were released. Al Gore shook my hand. By now my batteries are being melted down in Stuttgart, halfway to becoming the bottom half of a Nobel Peace Prize.

I was about to say I’ll now add batteries to the list of things I recycle but actually I’ll never recycle them again because I’ll never buy single use batteries again.  They’re just silly.  We’ve replaced every battery in the Towers with rechargeables, letting single use batteries die out like the dodo, Dasani and the idea that Adam Sandler is funny.

Photo credit: Thomas Edison et al at Wikimedia Commons