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Local authorities could play key battery role

Although responsibility for collecting batteries is to be on the producer, local authorities should still have a key role to play.

With current collection figures varying between 1-2% and a target of 25% required by 2012, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will implement drop-off areas in places such as community halls and leisure centres in the new year as it seeks to ascertain the best way for this country to collect the waste stream. It will explore every avenue, setting up collection points anywhere people may go.

WRAP battery programme manager Chris Davey said: Producers will be financially responsible for collecting and paying to meet targets, but this doesnt just mean manufacturers, but retailers who may import batteries in items such as DVD Player remotes.

And it is not just big names such as Duracell, but supermarket chains like Tesco who make batteries.

The trials may prove that the kerbside is the best way to collect. But I am absolutely positive that this is not an obligation which will affect local authorities financially in any way shape or form. They will be reimbursed and it may be an opportunity for them to collect material streams they havent previously thought of.

While only making up a small overall tonnage, batteries will go towards local authority recycling targets and Davey believes that it is the change of habit that is important.
If householders can be taught the importance of collecting batteries, this could lead to them acting similarly for other streams that may not have been collected before.

Batteries can easily be lost in the dustbin, so the trials are aimed at finding a good cost effective collection method. The challenge is what is going to be the best way? My personal view is that kerbside collections of the right type could play a significant part provided there is no cost to the local authority, he added.

WRAP trials will last until March 2008 with the first Battery Directive targets set for 2012.

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