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Q1 battery data shows lead acid battery collections decline

1st July 2014

Emily Rice

Q1 battery data released last month (June) has indicated a fall in the amount of lead acid batteries being used to satisfy recycling targets. Data released by the Environment Agency in April this year suggested that the waste battery collection target had been exceeded by an inexplicably high number of lead acid batteries collected.

Q1 data published by the Environment Agency has revealed an apparent decrease in collections of lead acid batteries to meet recycling targets, but there is still a disproportionate amount of lead acid batteries in the UK contributing to meeting EU battery targets. UK exceeds portable battery recycling target for 2013.

Lead acid battery collections

Industry sources have expressed concern over the UK’s progress relating to battery targets, claiming that the UK may be regressing in their attempts to meet the target as the volume of lead acid batteries collected were much higher than the amount of new batteries being placed onto the market. The quantity of nickel cadmium and other batteries, which account for a large proportion of the new batteries currently being placed onto the market, has decreased whilst lead acid battery collections, which only represent 5.98% of the current market, have accounted for a large proportion of meeting the target.

It is expected that this disparity is a consequence of confusion between recyclers and producers over which lead acid batteries should be categorised as ‘portable’ and which should be deemed ‘industrial’ at the beginning and end of life. This has subsequently meant that much larger collections of lead acid batteries are occurring, a much larger amount than producers are obligated to finance. The figures, however, are up from the previous year with 121 tonnes of nickel cadmium and 851 tonnes of ‘other’ batteries being collected for recycling, figures that are much higher than those from any quarter of 2013. So although lead acid batteries are still dominant role players in meeting the target, the overall proportion of lead acid batteries being used to satisfy the UK’s battery recycling obligation has dropped by over 10%, from 86.34% last year, to 75% in the first quarter of 2014.

Battery definitions

A revision of the definition of ‘portable’ waste batteries is much anticipated by recyclers in a hope that this would reduce the amount of lead acid batteries that are obligated to be included towards meeting the target. The data is overly positive showing that the UK is currently on track for meeting the waste battery recycling target of 35%, however this could change if a new definition of lead acid batteries is proposed, as a larger percentage of the target would have to be met through ‘other’ battery collections. Producer Compliance Scheme Comply Direct will inform members of any further news and legislation changes which may affect them.

For more information about waste batteries collection targets and our battery producer compliance scheme please click here to get in touch with the Comply Direct Batteries compliance team.