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Call to ask more questions about UK battery recycling

Waste solutions provider Rabbitt Recycling director Michael Morris has questioned why the battery industry and the Government have not asked where and how batteries are going to be recycled in the UK to meet its European Union battery recycling targets.

Speaking to MRW, Morris said: There is nowhere in the UK where you can recycle mixed batteries.

He said that most batteries will end up being shipped abroad to be recycled including France, Germany and Finland. He said: All those plants will be very rich.

Rabbitt Recycling collect, sort batteries and then ship them to reprocessing plants - mainly based in Finland.

Morris concerns come after seven battery compliance schemes received approval from the Environment Agency to run their schemes (see MRW story).

The UK is currently recycling around five per cent of its batteries and will need to get to 25 per cent by 2012.

Morris explained: The question to ask is Where and how is this going to be recycled?

However, G&P Batteries managing director Michael Green said that there was nowhere in the world where mixed batteries could be recycled. He also said that the Government was right to focus on collection, targets and producers first before sorting out what will happen to the batteries next.

He added: The capacity for collecting and recycling all the batteries will not be a problem. The waste industry can easily cope with it. Nobody should worry about batteries being collected and recycled.

Batteries can be recycled in the UK and most are recycled in the UK. In the short term, not all of them will be recycled here. But this is not a problem.

He said a majority of waste batteries were recycled in the UK, especially lead ones, but more portable alkaline batteries were recycled elsewhere in Europe. Green explained that G&P recycle lead batteries and also pre-treat portable batteries.

Green said that G&P had applied to the Environment Agency to become an Approved Battery Treatment Operator and Approved Treatment Exporter so that they could export waste batteries in accordance with the Battery Regulations.

Retailers selling them must start taking waste batteries back from 1 February 2010. 

Green said that once the collection of them starts and the volumes are known then more recycling facilities could be built in the UK.

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