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Batteries specialist calls for fresh look at lead acid volumes

A continuing dominance of portable lead acid batteries in collection targets has prompted G&P Batteries to call for an investigation into the regime.

Recent data from the Environment Agency on the National Packaging Waste Database shows that 38,725 tonnes of portable batteries were placed on the market during 2016, of which 1,936 tonnes were portable lead acid batteries.

But of the 17,232 tonnes of portable batteries received for recycling by Approved Battery Treatment Operators (ABTOs) and Approved Battery Exporters from compliance schemes, 8,745 tonnes (more than 50%) of these were the lead acid type rather than Ni-Cd or ‘other’.

Collection company G&P Batteries says that, despite a reduction in the weight maximum of portable lead acid batteries from 10kg to 4kg, the figures remain “heavily over-reliant” on their collection.

Managing director Greg Clementson said: “I can see no rational explanation as to why this situation perpetuates, unless there is a massive under-reporting of material going on to the market or a similar over-reporting of material coming off the market – which implies that either battery manufacturers or the ABTOs and the waste industry misunderstands this legislation.

“This situation is contrary to the aim and spirit of the legislation and cannot be sustainable in the long term.

“We need an investigation into why lead acid batteries are dominating these collection rates, and to look more closely into exactly how many batteries of other chemistries from the UK are being recycled.”

The graph below, prepared for MRW by 360 Environmental, shows the dominance of lead acid batteries since 2010 but also indicates that the trend is being reversed. 

battery collections

battery collections - 360 Environment


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