Lead acid batteries over-represented in 2019 collection figures

March 10th, 2020

Recent data from the Environment Agency (EA) confirms that the UK has missed its battery collection target by 258 tonnes.

However, despite figures showing that the UK has collected 17,386 tonnes of batteries in 2019, against a collection target of 17,644, it is still possible for the UK to meet its target as compliance schemes have until May 31 2020 to obtain evidence to meet their members' obligations for the 2019 compliance period.

Lead acid batteries

The EA's 2019 battery figures have raised some concerns, due to the disparity between the number of lead acid batteries put on the market and the the collection rates. In 2019, though only 3% (1,212 tonnes) of portables batteries placed on the market were lead acid batteries, this chemistry made up 62% (10,746 tonnes) of the waste batteries collected.

This means that the majority of the UK’s battery obligation is being met by lead acid batteries and there is a concern that there is only a small amount of household portable batteries being collected, which is not enough to meet obligations.

Managing Director of ERP UK, John Redmayne said;

“It looks as though the UK was very close to achieving its 45% target. There are factors in the system which mean the UK often achieves just below the targets; in particular small producers don’t have to join a scheme but do have to post their data.

The EA’s collection figures split batteries into three categories: lead acid, nickel cadmium and ‘other’, with the majority of batteries falling into the ‘other’ classification.

As has become a pattern over the years, a significant number of ‘other’ chemistry batteries were processed in Q4, as schemes worked to hit their obligations on behalf of members.

The government has indicated that it expects to release a consultation on changes to the system in 2020. ERP is actively engaged with this and looks forward to the next steps.

It is likely that this will form part of the Government’s review of the Battery Regulations, expected to take place in the next year or so."

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