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UK battery recycling rates questioned

The UK Environment Agency has released preliminary data on the recycling rate for portable batteries collected in the UK in 2013. The EU Battery Directive requires member countries to collect 30% of the average number of portable batteries placed onto the market over the three years preceding 2013, up from 25% in 2012.
The quantity of portable batteries placed on the UK market for 2013 was 36,537.990 tonnes.
The quantity of batteries delivered by Battery Compliance Schemes to approved battery recyclers or exporters, with supporting ‘Evidence Notes’, was 10,557.025 tonnes. The preliminary collection rate for 2013 is therefore 28.89%. This rate is expected to increase as more Evidence Notes are accepted by the Environment Agency.
According to an article in, this collection rate is disputed by many in the industry. They argue that the recycling rate is being over-estimated because of a continuing discrepancy between the reported quantity of lead acid batteries placed on the market and the reported quantity collected for recycling. Read the full story here.
The source of the problem is the UK regulations, which do not have a clear definition of a portable (‘hand carried’) battery. If a battery weighs between 4-10kg then the producer or recycler has to do their own assessment on whether or not the battery is ‘hand carried’. Recyclers are waiting for the Government to change the definition to clarify their reporting obligations.