Environment Agency data indicates that UK has fallen short of the 18% interim recycling target for 2011


April 2012

Provisional data relating to portable batteries being recycled in 2011 gathered by the Environment Agency and released on the National Packaging Waste Database indicate that the UK interim collection target of 18% may not have been achieved by approved batteries compliance schemes.

The final data will not be available until May 2012, but according to current data the UK will have achieved an overall collection rate of 17.8%.

The provisional data shows that large producers who are obligated under the Batteries Regulations placed 39,609 tonnes of portable batteries onto the market in 2011. Evidence notes were issued for a total of 7,900.103 tonnes of waste portable batteries under the UK’s battery recycling system in 2011.

Compliance schemes have a deadline of May 2012 to submit final numbers. A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said that after this deadline, the Agency is hopeful that the complete data will indicate that the UK will have actually met the 2011 target.

The 2011 interim informal target is not legally-binding for the UK but has been put in place as interim measures to track improvements in the tonnages of portable batteries being collected in the run up to the first legally binding target of 25% in 2012. The target will then rise to 45% in 2015.

It should be noted that significant progress in the UK collection rate has been made in recent years. Portable battery recycling has risen from 9.56% in 2010, to almost achieving the 18% target in 2011. However, battery producer compliance schemes are concerned that the rate of portable battery recycling in the UK could plateau unless further investment in the collection infrastructure is made. Participation levels need to continue to increase in order to keep the UK on track to meet its 2012 target of 25%.

The Environment Agency has also announced that the data for 2010, which was delayed due to a legal issue with one one of the compliance schemes, will be released soon.