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'Very positive' battery collection figures

The UK is on track to reach its battery collection target for 2014, according to the latest figures from the Environment Agency.

Returns for the second quarter of the year show that 3,640 tonnes of portable batteries were collected, bringing the 2014 total to 7,574 tonnes.

The UK’s collection target for the full year is 11,613 tonnes and during the first quarter 3,993 tonnes were collected.

Robbie Staniforth, relationship team manager at compliance scheme Budget Pack, said the figures were “very positive” and indicated that the UK would meet its collection target.

He was not concerned by lower total for the second quarter: “A slight dip is the trend, and then the figures in the third and fourth quarters will tail off. The only thing that would be worrying would be if they dropped really significantly.”

As with all UK figures in this sector, the vast majority of collected batteries were the lead acid type at 2,789 tonnes.

Staniforth warned about a confusion in the sector: “There is a discrepancy between what producers define as a portable battery and what recyclers define as portable batteries.

“At the beginning of its life the producer can say ‘It’s an industrial battery so there no collection target for it’. But at the end of its life it’s hard to say whether it’s portable or industrial because to the average recycler it looks like a hand-held battery so it’s portable.”

In 2013, Defra launched and withdrew a consultation which would have set a 3kg limit on portable batteries, saying it would be re-introduced in 2014.

Staniforth also said there was a financial element involved because of the value of the lead: “In any market you’ll see the most valuable resource recycled the most.”

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