The UK needs to deliver an estimated 5,000 tonnes to recyclers in Q4 to meet the national target, a 15% increase on 2015.
In the final mid-year publication from the Environment Agency, we get a snapshot of how the UK is performing on battery collections and recycling. My last review from quarter 2 indicated the UK needed to pull its socks up to get back on track to meet 2016 targets.
Unfortunately, this advice has not been heeded across the market and the UK still needs a marked improvement to achieve the circa 17,200 tonne target by 31 December. Looking at our own collections performance three quarters of the way through 2016, we have secured 75% of our forecasted end of year target, so we are comfortable that our battery collection systems are working well.
Who is short of battery tonnage?
Without a marked up turn in batteries being treated in Q4, someone, somewhere will miss the 2016 target. This is even more important because it is a Directive target year in 2016, which means the Government has transposed the 45% EU target directly to producers under the UK Battery Regulations.
The problem this brings is that even if schemes just reach their own targets, the UK could still come up short which could bring penalties from the EU.
Why the shortage?
Looking at the Q3 figures released by the Environment Agency on 1 December, there are three issues which contribute to a potential shortfall:
- Small producers do not contribute to the target but place around 200 tonnes on to the market.
- The over-collection by schemes (previously helping to cover the shortfall) is minimal due to increasing recycling costs and tighter control over targets.
- This year has a 45% recycling target, the highest so far, stretching new and existing collection systems.
Although Ecosurety collection systems are working, the impact on the wider market could force up the cost of battery compliance, as more expensive sources are required to hit recycling targets. The impact would likely then roll into 2017, with increased costs for collection and treatment of harder to reach and harder to treat batteries.
We urge all producers to review their supply chains before the end of the year to identify possible sources of batteries. Ad-hoc or on-going battery collection systems that once seemed of no value could become viable sources, with even a rebate for particular chemistries.
Contact our battery collection team for more information on 0845 094 2226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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