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Battery recycling units introduced across country

February 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm

New battery recycling bins are currently being introduced across the country to increase the UK’s woeful battery recycling rate. Any shops that sell batteries will now be responsible for providing collection points so that customers will have an easy way in which to recycle them.

30,000 tonnes of batteries are sold in the UK annually, with the average household using 21 a year. But of this figure, only a tiny 3% are recycled. 600 million end up being sent to landfill, where they can leak into the ground and cause environmental problems.

The new European Batteries Directive has been launched with the aim of increasing battery recycling levels to 10% by the end of year. By 2012 the target is 25% of all batteries, and by 2016 it is 45%. This would represent a massive improvement, but failing to meet the target could lead to a hefty fine for the government.

Battery manufacturers will be responsible for the costs involved in the collection and recycling of the batteries, which will cost an estimated £3 million a year. This has led to fears that the price of batteries will be forced to rise as a result.

Some shopkeepers are also frustrated over the new responsibilities that have been thrust upon them. Any shopkeepers selling over 1,400 AA batteries a year have to log the number of batteries they receive and sign up to the hazardous waste register, which is extra work that some do not appreciate.

The Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, said that the new legislation “will make it easier for consumers to do the right thing whilst ensuring retailers fulfil their part of the bargain”.

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