2021 UK Battery obligation achieved
The UK met its 2021 batteries obligation, reporting a collection rate of 45.89%, slightly higher than the 45% requirement. Whilst the quantity of portable batteries both collected by Battery Compliance Schemes (BCSs) and delivered to Approved Battery Treatment Operators (ABTOs) and Approved Battery Exporters (ABE), was the highest reported since implementation of the Regulations, collection of sufficient batteries to meet subsequent year’s obligations remains challenging. The quantity of portable batteries placed on the market continues to increase; rising by 6% between 2021 and 2022. This was partly a result of increased appliance sales during the pandemic, and also a general increase in the proportion of cordless products placed on the market. Whilst the UK obligation is based on the average weight of portable batteries placed on the market by registered battery producers in the current year and preceding 2 years, we expect further increases in collections to be required this year to meet the UK 2022 portable battery obligation.
We hope that increased quantities of batteries will be collected in 2022 through ground-breaking work with our Local Authority Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) partners, in which householders are encouraged to remove batteries from WEEE prior to its deposit in collection containers. The new Appropriate Measures for WEEE permitted sites, which take effect for England in August, should also increase battery capture rates in England. These define at which stage of treatment batteries must be removed and introducing mandatory reporting of battery capture rates which may be used to verify that battery removal processes are effective.
In previous blogs we highlighted new guidance on the definition of portable lead-acid batteries, that had the potential to increase the quantity reported as placed on the market. As shown in the chart below, this has not materially changed and the return rate of lead-acid batteries, based on the quantity delivered to ABTOs and ABEs has continued to increase again in 2021.
We expect further steps to resolve the imbalance between the reporting of lead-acid POM and the waste lead-acid portable batteries collected will be a key feature of the pending consultation on the Batteries Regulations, which now appears likely to take place in 2023.