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Retailers urge Government to rethink battery proposals

The British Retail Consortium is calling on Government to think about the implementation process for the batteries regulation.

The battery regulation proposals oblige retailers to take back battery products for free from customers in store if they sell batteries. The battery consultationclosed on 13 February.

Speaking at the MRW Recycling Retail Waste 2009 about the retailer battery take back system, BRC director of business environment Jane Milne said: We have had some productive discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform who recognise that that might not be the most effective way of putting forward these regulations.

If you are a corner shop who just sells batteries once a week you have them there because its convenient to customers who are picking up their Polos or newspaper or whatever - thats actually imposing a heavy burden on you and you are probably not going to collect many batteries back anyway. In some of the Waste and Resources Action Programmes trial work, what it showed was, where large supermarkets offered take-back schemes they captured a large amount of batteries because people remembered to take them along as part of their weekly shopping routine. Yes, in-store take back can be a good thing but we need to work out how people behave with certain shopping behaviours. The pilot also showed that the most successful way to collect batteries was via local authority kerbside recycling.

We are pressing for Government to think again about implementation process for the waste electrical and electronic equipment regulations and batteries. Just because they are run separately in Europe doesnt mean they have to be run separately in the UK the more powerful message we can offer customers is we offer single streams.

Milne also said that waste challenges had to be met by looking at customer behaviour.
The only way that we are going to be successful at recycling is to work with peoples patterns to behave and their approach to life rather than trying to make things difficult for them which is the way we seem to approach this at the moment. Nine times out of ten that brings you back to kerbside collection because that is the most efficient way of interfacing with customers.


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