Skip to main content

Batteries And Accumulators

Volume 165: debated on Friday 19 January 1990

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps his Department has taken to reduce the volume of spent batteries and accumulators in household waste.

I have been asked to reply.The Government have long encouraged recycling wherever economically and technically feasible, and the United Kingdom has an excellent record of reclaiming lead-acid and larger nickel-cadmium batteries, and mercuric oxide and silver oxide button cells. Recycling of smaller, consumer-type batteries has not yet proved commercially viable. Reductions in the volume of certain spent batteries and accumulators in household waste is one objective of a modified draft directive recently published by the European Commission. Negotiations have yet to begin on the final form of the directive, and it would not be sensible for the Government to act independently in advance of their completion.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps his Department has taken to promote research aimed at reducing the dangerous substance content and increasing the use of less-polluting substitute substances in batteries and accumulators, and into methods of recycling.

I have been asked to reply.The Department's Warren Spring laboratory has in the past undertaken research into methods of battery reclamation and recycling, and is currently collaborating on a project aimed at recovering consumer-type alkaline manganese and nickel-cadmium batteries from the domestic waste stream. An examination is also under way of the environment, economic and technical issues which recovery involves. The promotion of research is one aspect of a modified draft directive on batteries and accumulators containing dangerous substances recently published by the European Commission. The Government will await finalisation of the directive before deciding upon measures for its implementation.