Battery collection target for 2020 ‘within reach’

9th December 2020 | Recycling

Data published by the Environment Agency on 1 December shows battery compliance schemes collected 4,839 tonnes of waste portable batteries in the third quarter of 2020. A total of 11,094 tonnes of waste portable batteries has been collected in 2020 so far, 69% of the target total of 16,088 tonnes.

The UK target collection tonnage for 2020 is 45% of the average annual amount of portable batteries placed on the UK market (PO) by scheme members and small producers in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Sector experts remain confident the target will be met, despite a fall in collection during the second quarter of 2020. This is because the fourth quarter of the year, covering October to December, traditionally sees a high volume of batteries placed on the market and collect. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on the numbers of batteries collected in the second quarter, which covers April to June. However, the third quarter of 2020 saw the volume of batteries collected recover to levels comparable to those seen prior to the pandemic.

Battery collection

Of the 11,094 tonnes of batteries collected so far in 2020, 3,537 tonnes were lead acid batteries. Only 957 tonnes of lead acid batteries have been placed on the market this year. Long-running concerns remain within the battery recycling sector that the high number of lead acid batteries masks the fact not enough portable household batteries are being collected.

John Redmayne is the managing director of the European Recycling Platform, a producer compliance scheme. He emphasised the sector’s recovery since the first national lockdown. “The impacts of the pandemic and associated lockdowns are very apparent in the latest set of UK battery statistics,” he told letsrecycle.com. “After seeing a dramatic reduction in collections of waste portable batteries in Q2 data, there was a significant rebound in Q3, with the highest volume of portable lead acid batteries seen in a quarter since records began. It is always difficult to identify the exact reasons for this – but clearly many battery disposals were delayed rather than entering the residual waste stream. This is welcome news for both schemes and processors and also and encouraging sign for the future in terms of public and business attitudes to battery recycling.”

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Battery collection target for 2020 ‘within reach’