Successful start for battery recycling schemes

The portable battery collection rate ran at 12.5% over the first six months of the year, beating the 2010 target

Collections of waste portable batteries are exceeding this year’s target of 10% but are still only half the rate that will be required by 2012, according to figures released by the Environment Agency yesterday.

In the first half of the year more than 2,300 tonnes of portable batteries - those used by households rather than for cars or industry - were collected on behalf of the battery makers, importers and retailers covered by the targets. This is 12.5% of the weight of batteries placed on the market by these firms. Performance is improving rapidly: in the first quarter of the year, the collection rate was 8.6%; last year it was just 2% (ENDS Report, June 2010).

Rules forcing companies placing more than a tonne of portable batteries on the UK market a year to join one of six compliance schemes entered into force at the start of the year (ENDS Report, December 2009). The compliance schemes collect and recycle batteries on their members’ behalf.

The initial targets are voluntary and based on collection alone, but the 2006 EU Batteries Directive demands a 25% recycling rate by 2012.

Next year, the UK's target is 18%.