The Environment Agency has delayed the launch of new weight thresholds for batteries, which it is now expected to announce at the end of 2014.
Due to an unusual decision made by the Agency in 2010, Britain now recycles more portable lead acid batteries than it uses. Back in the early days of the Battery Recycling Regulations, the Agency decided that the definition of a portable battery was a sealed one which was not used for propelling or starting a vehicle and that could be carried by a ‘natural living person’. This has resulted in recovery levels of over 300%.
To correct this anomaly the Environment Agency has decided to introduce a weight limit for qualifying batteries. What it hasn’t haven’t decided is the limit. It will either be 2kg, 3kg or 4 kg.
Subject to this decision and based on current collection volumes, the country will fall foul of the European Directive in 2017, 2019 or 2026. The sector is waiting in anticipation. We do not expect an answer until the end of this year. In the meantime, portable batteries are being stored at great expense whilst recycling is being financially discouraged. We fear this has been an unintended consequence of over engineering the UK regulations.