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2016 battery recycling - on track or under performing?

The latest figures published for Q2 show that we could be as much as 1000 tonnes short of the target if we follow 2015 trends.

Despite being on track to hit the Environment Agency projected target, unless schemes draw upon surplus batteries from prior years or step up collections, there could be a shortfall. But at what cost to the market?

The proportion of cheaper and more readily available lead-acid chemistry batteries being used to fulfil targets is now starting to subside. This may be a contributor to the performance year to date where collections have fallen below treatment for two quarters. If we look at the medium term impact, what does the Q2 battery data indicate about meeting the 2016 targets and the setting of 2017 budgets?

An uphill battle

Since Q1 we have started off with our lowest battery collection rate since 2013, meaning a bigger uphill battle to achieve the 45% target compared to recent years. So far we could be a little way short of the 17,000 tonnes estimated battery recycling target in 2016, and this leaves two options - step-up up collections in Q3 and Q4, or draw upon surplus collections from prior years.

The former follows performance from 2015 but points towards more costly chemistries, whilst the latter requires a longer term strategy in place to map battery sales growth and producer demand, and carrying over collections from 2015 to meet the 45% target.

Mitigate shortfalls

Ecosurety have been tracking the market for our own supply, and where excess is available for a ‘rainy day’ to mitigate shortfalls.

As a result of recent increased targets and treatment costs, some producers have been prompted to re-tender for their batteries compliance provider. Without a surplus buffer, increased costs can only be passed on.

With the possibility of meeting 2016 targets looking tight, the security of battery supply for 2017 becomes an added dynamic, in addition to the cost and chemistry make-up of battery recycling to consider.

The Q2 data is a barometer of where the UK and individual schemes are towards their end of year obligation, and indicate any mid-year adjustments that are required, either relying on existing collections bringing home the additional tonnages required, or calling upon reserves to top up at the end of the year.

Watch this space in November as the Q3 data is released, when we will see if the UK is still on track to hit the member state target of 45%.

To discuss your batteries compliance obligations please contact our team of specialists on 0845 094 2228 or email info@ecosurety.com.


Robbie Staniforth

Innovation and policy director

Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.


Written by Robbie Staniforth Published 09/09/2016 Topics Compliance

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