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Battery Recycling Costs Expected to Rise

Battery recycling costs are expected to rise higher than was previously estimated, as a result of the reclassification of waste batteries.

Following a Defra consultation on proposed changes to Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009, the way that manufacturers and recyclers classify portable batteries will change, with waste batteries weighing more than 4kg no longer classed as portable.

In the UK, batteries are currently classified as portable if they are sealed, can be carried by hand without difficulty, and are neither for automotive nor industrial use. The new guidelines, which will bring the UK in-line with other EU Member States, are expected to come into force from 1 January 2016.

Defra has stated that, as a result of the changes, from 2016, the cost of collecting and processing waste portable batteries is expected to rise to £1,400 per tonne. This is a significant increase from the figure of £1,050 to £1,150 per tonne that was predicted in the original consultation and adds up to around £33 million over 10 years. These increased costs are expected to be carried by battery producers through the producer compliance system.

Before the redefinition, between 3,500 and 6,900 tonnes of lead-acid batteries between 4kg and 10kg a year were being counted as ‘portable’ for producer compliance schemes. With the introduction of this new definition, producers will have to increase the amount of non-lead household batteries collected. Under the Batteries Directive, 45% of portable batteries must be collected by 2016.

According to Defra, 83% of the UK’s battery recycling obligation in 2012 was met through the collection of lead-acid batteries, despite them making up just 8% of the new batteries placed onto the market. In order for the UK to meet the targets, more effort is expected to be needed to increase the capture of lighter portable batteries, including those typically discarded by householders.

Clarity collects and recycles scrap vehicle batteries, providing a professional and efficient vehicle battery trading service with excellent market rates and free, prompt and reliable collections of scrap lead-acid batteries across the UK. If you want to sell scrap vehicle batteries, contact a member of our team to find out more or request a call-back.

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