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Recycling: Batteries

Volume 704: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Joan Ruddock, on 14 July (Official Report, House of Commons, 25W), whether, in view of the quantity of ferromanganese, zinc and mercury that is recoverable from used batteries, they plan to facilitate one or more battery recycling plants in the United Kingdom. [HL5625]

The lack of UK recycling capacity for portable batteries reflects the relatively low level (about 3 per cent) of batteries that are currently collected for recycling. There is greater recycling capacity for industrial and automotive batteries where the percentages of batteries collected are much higher.

The EU batteries directive requires large increases in collection, treatment and recycling of portable batteries over the next few years. The targets are for at least 25 per cent of portable batteries to be collected, treated and recycled by 2012 and 45 per cent by 2015. These increases will provide opportunities for UK companies to invest in recycling capacity.

The batteries directive also bans the use of mercury in most batteries so that we would not expect much mercury to be recovered from waste batteries.