Defra has unveiled proposals to change the way portable batteries are classified, in order to address a discrepancy that has ‘skewed’ progress towards battery recycling targets in the UK, according to battery recyclers.
The plans put forward by the Department last week (January 26) will see any batteries placed onto the market weighing 4kg or less classed as portable – and therefore eligible to be counted towards recycling targets. Under the proposals, any batteries weighing more than 4kg will, from January 2016, be classed as being used for automotive or industrial uses and therefore not to be counted towards recycling targets.
Battery recyclers have long argued that, as they are often unaware of the original use of some lead acid batteries, it is impossible to determine if they fall into the industrial or portable classification.
As a result, many are reported as portable, inflating the number of lead acid batteries that are counted toward recycling targets compared to the amount placed on the market by producers. According to Defra, 83% of the UK’s battery recycling obligation in 2012 was met through the collection of lead acid batteries, despite them making up just 8% of the new batteries placed onto the market. Defra has proposed to amend its guidance on what should be classified as a portable battery, to provide a “clearer framework” for interpretation of the regulations.
In its summary of the changes, Defra stated: “This will not affect the other components of the existing definition and it will remain important for both producers, treatment operators and exporters to give consideration to the full range of factors when taking a view on whether a battery is portable or industrial.”
Stakeholders have been asked to comment on the proposals by February 22.
The below 3 options are currently being considered
Option 1 – Do nothing: Retain current guidance
Option 2 – Introduce a single weight threshold of 4kg for portable batteries
Option 3 – Introduce a single weight threshold of 3kg for portable batteries
This is important for both producers, treatment operators and exporters to give consideration to the full range of factors when taking a view on whether a battery is portable or industrial.
We will be communicating directly with members on progress however, should you have any queries to contact us on 0844 8005671 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Defra proposal can be seen at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/waste/defining-portable-batteries/