Inconsistencies in lead acid battery reporting to be resolved

WEEE Design

February 2013

Battery recycling data in the UK is being skewed by a disproportionate number of lead acid batteries included in portable battery recycling data caused by uncertainty in the definition of portable batteries.

It was revealed at a meeting of the Battery Stakeholder Group that the government is planning to take steps to deal with the issue last week.

The Directive defines three categories of battery, and places different requirements on battery producers in each category:

  • Portable battery = battery or battery pack that is sealed, hand carried and not an industrial or automotive battery
  • Industrial battery = battery designed exclusively for industrial or professional uses
  • Automotive battery = battery used for automotive starter, lighting or ignition power

A recycling target has only been set for the portable batteries category.

Battery recyclers say that it is often not possible to determine whether batteries are of the portable or industrial category as the original use of some lead acid batteries is unknown. In these cases, the lead acid batteries are frequently reported as portable batteries, contributing towards the recycling target.

There are calls in the industry for a change in the definition of portable batteries to clarify which batteries should be included in the category. It is understood that the government is keen to work with the industry to bring a solution as early as in the first quarter of 2013.