17 Aug 2010

Battery recycling: where to do it!

Britain's battery recycling is the worst in Europe - see my previous blog here. Sadly still most batteries end up in landfill - the Government reckon only between 3 and 5% are recycled - see details here.

An EU directive on batteries that came into force in 2009 which means producers must pay for the collection, treatment and recycling of batteries. The 'Be Positive' label left is the sign where batteries can be recycled. Shops and online retailers that sell more than 32 kilograms of batteries a year must offer facilities to recycle batteries by 1st Feb next year - this is equivalent to one pack of 4 AA batteries a day.

A website has been set up to help reduce battery landfill: 'savebatterywaste.com' - it is a map of UK battery collection locations - but nothing much in Stroud - nearest listed is Gloucester - so a local Whiteshill campaigner has lobbied the District Council. Infact SDC are better than many and batteries are included in the kerbside collection - see website here for national recycling bank sites.

Stroud was amongst the UK first authorities to embark on the collection of household batteries from residents' doorsteps. The service was introduced in 2004 and in its first year resulted in the diversion of approximately 2 tonnes of batteries from landfill (approximately 1 tonne of batteries are collected through our service each year). The intention at the time, as it still is now, was to reduce the quite potent leachate (a liquid waste by-product produced within landfills by the permeation of rain water), produced within the landfill at Gloucester through this type of waste product.

Officers have commented that: "During the start-up of the service, we were hindered by the bureaucracy of waste legislation that restricted the types of batteries that could be collected without incurring extortionate transportation and storage costs, not to mention the licensing requirements. This has now changed and it appears that the regulators have adopted a more pragmatic approach that has allowed local and national businesses to play a key role in dealing with this problem. It is reassuring to know that the stance we took on this matter years ago is now being supported."

Tescos and Sainsburys stores in Stroud have organised collection banks. There is also a list of companies that will accept batteries in a properly sealed jiffy bag - see Freepost addresses for Tesco, EveryReady, Energiser, Duracell, Sainsburys and other major producers and supermarkets.

Frances Roden, Leader of the council responded to the campaigner with some of the above info but also rightly noted that smaller businesses may take a little time to catch up once they have determined that they too may be obliged to offer a similar service.

Indeed it is my view the regulators could be doing more to let businesses know - however I was pleased to hear Frances note that SDC "will revisit our website to ensure that it is brought up to date to reflect the new requirements on local businesses selling batteries, so that they may take a more proactive role and honour their legal obligations. To encourage this further, we will inform the Stroud Chamber of Trade and Federation of Small Businesses so they may filter the information to their members."

So get recycling those batteries! I don't use very many but will have a few that I save for a once a year drop in my green box!

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