From February 1, UK retailers which sell more than 32kg of portable batteries per year (equivalent of one four-pack of AA batteries a day) in an individual store, over the internet or via mail order, are obliged to take back used batteries from the public free of charge.
The British Retail Consortium argued that retailers should not be expected to bear the entire responsibility for getting batteries recycled and urged more local authorities to collect batteries from homes.
BRC head of environment Bob Gordon said that shops could not be the only route for collection and infrastructure was needed in workplaces, schools, community centres and kerbside collection.
LGA policy advisor Clive Harris told MRW: “The law puts the onus on producers to provide facilities for battery recycling. Having said that, local authorities will be wiling to work with retailers and producers to increase the recycling of batteries and help tackle packaging waste as well.”
He added that the LGA could not be expected to dictate to local authorities on what recycling systems they should implement.
In 2008, the Waste & Resources Action Programme published a study into kerbside battery collection. It concluded that batteries can be collected successfully as additions to existing collection networks and require only very limited modifications to the collection vehicles and other facilities. It also stated that the public has grown used to kerbside collections of recyclables and respond “favourably” to the collection of additional materials.
Gordon added: “All the evidence shows home collections of recyclables are easiest for customers and produce the best results. Developing these must not be ignored.