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Successful battery trials unlikely to go nationwide

While residents of Exmouth have turned a battery recycling scheme into a massive success, there is little chance of such initiatives becoming common throughout the UK.

This is the opinion of East Devon District Council (EDDC) senior waste management officer Issy White who played a major role in collecting 95,000 or 2.4 tonnes of batteries over the last six months.

White said: The local people all loved it and collected a massive amount through bags supplied by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) for their kerbside boxes.

But I doubt such an initiative will ever happen on a national scale as it is not down to the local authorities to collect and the cost of reprocessing is huge. When the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and Battery Directive kick in, it will be down to the producer.

But while there appears to be a huge appetite for collecting in this way from Exmouth residents and in the six other areas WRAP used for its trials, funding and responsibility appear to be the main obstacles to collecting the stream.

White added: We have got WRAP funding until March 2008, then we will have to find another way of financing it. I think they [WRAP] started it to see how many [batteries] were out there and how successful such a scheme could be, but you need a lot of batteries for a tonne, although then it is a very valuable material.

But White believes that the emphasis on trials overall has been in the wrong place. I think the biggest thing is that there should be a driver promoting reusable batteries. There should be a big push towards using rechargeable batteries, this is something WRAP hasnt looked at in this scheme, she added.

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