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Quarter 1 battery collection data has been released and the UK is on track to reach its collection target for 2014.

The data shows that there has been significant collection increases compared to the Q1 data of 2013. However, there are concerns over the outcome of a consultation, due later this year, with regards to a new definition of portable batteries and the effect this may have on fulfilling future targets.

The figures, released by the Environment Agency show that nearly 4,000 tonnes of portable batteries have been collected by Battery Compliance Schemes in the first quarter of 2014. The UK has an indicative obligation of 11,613 tonnes for 2014 so are in a good position to meet the 2014 collection target. There has also been an increase in the amount of waste portable batteries being recycled compared to previous years. In Q1 of this year 851 tonnes of portable ‘other’ batteries were collected for recycling, compared to 415 tonnes in Q1 of 2013.

The amount of nickel cadmium batteries collected for recycling in Q1 of this year was 121 tonnes, compared to 70 tonnes in Q1 of 2013. These figures also exceed collection rates compared with any quarter in the previous year. Despite these increases, there was a fall in the proportion of lead acid batteries collected in Q1 to meet the UK target, from 86% in 2013, to 75% this year. The amount collected overall this quarter is a positive sign that the UK is on track to meeting its target.

Concerns over future progress

There are, however, concerns over future progress of the UK reaching its portable battery collection target. This is mainly due to a consultation later this year proposing to alter the definition of portable batteries. Lead acid batteries will be the chemistry most affected, due to the interpretation differences over whether lead acid batteries are classed as ‘portable’ or ‘industrial’.

With the possibility of a new definition of ‘portable batteries’ being introduced, which may exclude significant quantities of lead acid waste portable batteries being eligible for recycling evidence, this could impact on the UK’s ability to meet increasing EU targets for portable batteries. This would mean that a higher proportion of the target would need to be met through the collection of other battery chemistries.

It is great to see that UK is on track for its 2014 battery collection target. We would welcome a consultation on the definition of a portable battery to help bring clarity to the battery recycling market and our members.

Colin Porter

Compliance technical specialist

Colin joined in October 2011 as a compliance technical specialist. He's involved in operational planning for all regulations, helping his packaging regs members with their legal obligations and identifying prospective new members with obligations under the regulations.

Written by
Colin Porter
Batteries, Compliance

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