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Umbrella body needed to monitor battery compliance schemes, claims Varta

Battery Directive producer compliance schemes need an umbrella body where they can be checked and monitored, according to Varta Consumer Batteries UK, a European batteries manufacturer.

In a July consultation, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that it would adopt a multiple producer compliance scheme like the one used for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) system. This is where manufacturers have to sign up with a producer compliance scheme that will collect batteries on their behalf.

Varta divisional vice president Vince Armitage told MRW: We have to have a degree of competition within compliance schemes. There will be people in it to make a quick buck but there will also be professionals. Eventually, the system will filter down to the most efficient players.

The recent economic market highlights what happens if different people do different things.

To get the likes of Duracell, Sony, Varta and Philips to all sit around the table and put money in a pot and trust each other is a big ask we need a coordinating body that is independent and effective.

Under the EU Batteries Directive the UK will have to collect 25% of waste portable batteries by 2012. Industry stakeholders have raised doubts over how the Battery Directive collection system would be implemented and how consumers will be educated to encourage them to recycle more batteries.

Varta Consumer Batteries UK Paula Brinson Pyke marketing manager said: Ordinary Joe Bloggs on the street still does not understand what to do with WEEE. When you mention WEEE to them they think you are talking about a different thing!  We need an umbrella body to give out a singular message and implement and national campaign for people to understand what to do with their batteries.

 We need an umbrella body to coordinate it so that it make checks, monitor and control the data. It can check if people are obeying the rules. We have ambitious targets and each producer compliance scheme will be competing against each other. An umbrella body can check if it is going off track. We would not like it to go like the WEEE system where if one compliance scheme folds all the members have to go to another scheme. We need an overriding controlling body that can communicate a simple message to the public.

"The advantage of having a single producer compliance scheme is that one singular message is communicated to the public. Whereas, the multiple compliance schemes are all doing different things and can give out different messages.

If communication fails then consumers will not understand what to do.

Image: Varta divisional vice president Vince Armitage

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