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Batteries included in new recycling plan

BatteriesIncreasing the level of recycling and reducing some of the 700 million batteries that go to landfill annually are at the heart of plans to be published in a Government consultation tomorrow.

The Government is warning that Christmas gifts – from toys to sat navs – will contain millions of batteries which could contribute to the 700 million batteries going to landfill each year.

The proposals look at the best way to improve the environmental performance of new batteries and ensure collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries. They apply to batteries of all shapes, volumes, weights, types and uses, and will help the UK implement the EU’s Batteries and Accumulators Directive.

The consultation seeks to find methods for achieving the following targets and objectives:

  • Collection targets for waste household batteries of 25% of sales by 2012, rising to 45% by 2016;
  • Prohibition on household batteries with high levels of cadmium (with some exceptions for emergency lighting, alarm systems, medical equipment and cordless power tools) and continued restrictions on use of mercury;
  • Clearer labelling with capacity, chemical symbol and “wheelie bin” collection symbols;
  • Various producer responsibilities, including a ban on disposal of industrial and automotive batteries in landfill or by incineration (in effect a 100% recycling target);
  • Responsibility for producers of appliances to ensure batteries can be readily removed for easy collection, treatment and recycling; and,
  • Responsibility for retailers to take back waste household batteries at no charge to consumers.

The consultation will run from 20 December 2007 to 12 March 2008 and seeks views from consumers, businesses and industry on how these measures should be implemented. 

Further information

Page published: 20 December 2007

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs