Q1 data for 2020 shows a strong start to the year for battery collections before the COVID-19 crisis.
The latest collection figures released by the Environment Agency show that up until the first week of lockdown in March, the UK was easily on track to collect enough batteries, with just over 27% of the annual collection rate target achieved.
The indicative UK obligation for 2020 is 16,089 tonnes and so far 4,188 tonnes has been collected in the first quarter.
It must be noted that in this quarterly period the COVID-19 crisis in the UK would only have impacted it during the last week, so there is no reflection in these figures for how collection rates will be affected yet.
The strong results follow positive collection results in 2019, with the initial figures suggesting that the UK would meet the annual target once the final figures are confirmed in June 2020 (the Environment Agency is due to publish the final confirmed figures for 2019 any day now).
The usual lead acid disparity
Despite the excellent overall collection results, the usual disparity between battery types placed on the market and those collected continues, as it has for many years. As the charts below illustrate, the 'Other' category of batteries makes up the vast proportion of those placed on the market, yet Lead Acid again dominates the tonnages collected.
The 'Other' category includes the common household portable batteries including AA's, AAA's and 9v batteries - again raising the issue that not enough household portable batteries are being collected to reflect those placed on the market. Taking the collection figures at face value it may appear that we are achieving the aims of the directive, but the figures within tell a different story.
Likely to worsen in Q2
Robbie Staniforth, head of policy at Ecosurety commented "The data available does not yet show the impact that COVID-19 has had on the collection frequencies and volumes through April and May. Although it represents a positive start to the year, it is likely to worsen in quarter two."
"There may well be a ‘spring clean effect’ later in the year, once battery collection locations become readily accessible again, but we will need to keep an even closer eye on the data than in previous years."
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Ecosurety now offer free battery collection packs (pictured below) for organisations to collect waste portable batteries, suitable for a single office location through to a UK-wide retail chain.
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