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2016 portable battery recycling target not expected to be met by the UK

2nd March 2017

Melanie Harper

On 27 February 2017 DEFRA released a summary of the UK battery collection rate for 2016 and it is expected that the UK will not meet the EU battery recycling target of 45% for 2016.

Comply Direct have worked very hard to ensure that all our Battery Members are compliant for 2016.

The UK battery collection target of 45% is made up of the average amount of portable batteries placed on the UK market by battery compliance scheme members and small producers in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Current figures show that there is a 57 tonne shortfall of waste portable batteries delivered for treatment in the UK for 2016 with a current UK Collection rate of 39.24%.

The shortfall could be seen as a consequence of higher evidence costs caused by the reduction in waste lead acid battery recycling contributing to the UK target.

From January 2016 batteries that weighed over 4kg could no longer be classed as ‘portable’ when they became waste and were recycled.

Prior to this change, batteries weighing between 4kg and 10kg were in a grey area and could be either portable or industrial depending on the battery’s characteristics. This meant that batteries weighing up to 10kg had been declared as portable when they were recycled and suggested that recycling figures could be skewed as recyclers, unsure of the original use of lead acid batteries, may declare them as portable. Since this change there has been a greater effort in the UK to collect and recycle lighter portable batteries in order to meet the targets and lead acid evidence quantities have decreased since the introduction of the 4kg threshold was introduced.

Final data will be published June 2017. We expect to bring you a further update before then, later in March.

Comply Direct’s Battery service is delivered in partnership with the BatteryBack Batteries Compliance Scheme. BatteryBack’s General Manager, David Reynolds commented:

“The shortfall in battery collections and recycling caused by the approach for small producers in the UK comes at a sensitive time as we enter Brexit negotiations. It appears that the Directive target for 2016 has not been achieved which could result in infraction proceedings against the UK”.

Comply Direct will keep you up to date with any further information regarding the target. For more information about batteries compliance and recycling, please do not hesitate to get in touch.