Govt inserts battery take-back scheme
Battery sellers must collect them
Can't decide what to do with all those old batteries you've got lying around? Got a box full of them? Or have you simply been binning them as they've run out? Properly disposing of flat AAAs, AAs,Cs, Ds and 9Vs should now be a more easy process thanks to legislation which came into force this month.
The new law, part of the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations introduced in May 2009, forces any retailer who sells more than 32kg of batteries a year - that's 1400 AA batteries in total, or one four-pack of AAs a day - to collect unwanted power cells for recycling.
Retailers affected by the law must take back any battery, free of charge, whether they sold it to you or not.
Many local authorities already take old batteries for recycling, but not always among their usual house-to-house collections of material that can be recycled.
Many consumers find it easier to keep batteries or simply chuck them into the rubbish rather than travel to council tips - or 'recycling centres', as they're euphemistically called these days.
The new rules should make it much easier for consumers to get rid of old batteries by dropping them off at collection points in high street shops.
And about time too. Research from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) suggests that while Brits love their gadgets, they're not so hot on recycling.
Your typical British male owns 12 battery operated devices, but 63 per cent of men simply bin flat power packs, almost all of which will end up in landfill.
Defra found that younger gadget users tend to have a better record on recycling than older folk, but with 43 per cent of men saying they need new batteries on a monthly basis, that's still a heck of a lot of power cells destined for the bin.
The Government offers guidance for battery users here.
The Europe-wide Batteries Directive, put in place in 2006, calls for a quarter of all batteries to be recycled by 2012, rising to 45 per cent by 2016. ®
much as I support recycling...
Seems to me that it would make more sense to put them in the recycling bin, where they could be sorted at the collection centre along with all the other recycling material.
After all, what am I paying council tax for if I'm doing all the work?
A good start (at last) but what about the rest of the stuff?
To get to my local recycling centre (and it *is*, as has been mentioned by others, a centre for recycling) requires a 10 mile round trip.
Consequently recycling of batteries, low-energy lightbulbs, old computer kit and much more is actually environmentally *unfriendly* unless it's possible to take an entire car-load to offset the fuel involved in getting there in the first place...
More half baked ideas
"to collect unwanted power cells for recycling."
Note the phrase "to collect", this doesn't mean they'll actually recycle them, it just means they've got to collect them. Then at the end of the day the shopkeeper will put them in the dumpster out the back.
It's like the targets that councils have to meet on collecting recyclable material which they mix up in the back of a bin lorry to be sorted out back at the depot. But, as the seperating machines they use don't work correctly, only something in the region of 25% of the recyclable material actually goes to the right kind place and then they have to fish the cans out of the paper and the plastic out of the metal.
The resulting piles of wrongly sorted material then go to landfill.
Unlike when 2 blokes and a van used to collect the recycling and sort it out into the correct buckets in the street. The centrifuge machines that do the sorting cost upwards of £11 million quid whereas the 2 blokes in the van are on minimum wage. And still employed collecting, feeding and fixing the beast. So same number of people employed, more money on equipment and less actual recycling being done.
Still, they're meeting targets on collecting recycling, they're just not recycling it :(
... it IS a euphemism when it partly or all ends up in landfill anyway, as still happens with some local authorities, despite a public show of environmentalism.
My own local authority seems to have a fairly good record for reprocessing. But the word euphemism still partly applies. The firm that processes the rubbish has said more than once that the multiple bins pushed on us by the council are NOT necessary, and are there only so the council can cut down on collections. Washing of empty food tins is causing problems out of all proportion to any environmental value - once again purely so they can be left longer before collection. And the airport style security checks at our local waste depot are definitely surplus to requirements - especially the team of bone-idle gauleiters who stand hands-in-pockets watching aged people struggle with waste, even turning away people whose waste they consider 'unacceptable'.
Ever tried REAL recycling? They won't have it. My council waste depot has a bin for electrical goods, where I spotted a plastic grass bin that would replace an identical but broken one on my lawnmower. Could I have it? Not a chance! Got the same answer from the council offices. But wasn't that REAL recycling? Didn't matter - there was a rule against it - they weren't sure what rule, but they were sure there was one...
To be fair
Due to the lead content of car batteries, they are quite sought after for flogging on into recycling. IIRC the car battery industry uses a very high proportion of recycled lead.
This is because the batteries are easy to process and strip, and the actual waste percentage is quite low and easy to deal with.
(we'll gloss over the fact that the EU at one point classed them as toxic waste, and wanted onerous paperwork requirements until they were hit hard with the green clue stick)
Many moons ago my local tip in Swansea collected batteries, flogged them on for scrap and gave the proceeds to local charity. A case of good for the environment, and loads of smug points all round