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Recycling: Batteries

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what support is available to local authorities who want to increase levels of battery recycling; (196338)

(2) what plans he has to increase levels of battery recycling; and if he will make a statement.

We have recently consulted on the transposition of the EU Batteries Directive. When transposed, the directive will reduce the quantity of hazardous and non hazardous waste batteries going to landfill and increase the recovery of the materials they contain. Collection targets set by the directive for portable batteries are 25 per cent. by 2012, rising to 45 per cent. by 2016. The prohibition on incinerating or landfilling industrial and automotive batteries implies a 100 per cent. collection and recycling target for these batteries. The consultation closed on 13 March.

We are in the process of analysing the responses to the consultation. We will publish a summary prior to the second consultation later this year.

Research and trials to provide evidence for the consultation and to investigate the best ways of implementing the Batteries Directive have been carried out on portable batteries. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been working in partnership with a range of local authorities and not-for-profit organisations that already run recycling collection services to pilot portable waste battery collection trials in the UK. Trials include establishing ‘drop off’ points at supermarkets, as well as other methods of collection such as at the kerbside.

Supported by funding from DEFRA and the devolved administrations, the trials form part of a wider effort to develop cost-effective ways for the UK to meet the targets of the Batteries Directive. The results of the various trials will be published later this month, and these will be used to help Government and batteries producers identify the best methods of collecting batteries to meet the directive’s targets.

It is important to stress the fact that under the Batteries Directive, which is a Producer Responsibility Directive, responsibility for the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries will lie with the producers of batteries. In order to fulfil their obligations, they may need to engage with local authorities to improve their collection network. Therefore, when the directive is enforced, local authorities wishing to increase the level of the batteries recycled will need to make contractual agreements with the compliance scheme or schemes representing producers of batteries in the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of batteries were recycled in each (a) local authority area and (b) constituency in each of the last five years. (196339)

There has been no legislative requirement for waste household batteries to be separately collected and detailed statistics have not therefore been collected.