The European Battery Recycling Association recently published a press release containing the statistics of battery recycling for 2011. The report includes the recycling of batteries and accumulators, primary or secondary, portable, industrial and automotive, with the exception of Lead-Acid batteries and shows a decline of 5% between 2010 and 2011.
What does this mean exactly? Well the most obvious conclusion to draw from the report is that Europe is in fact recycling less batteries. However, I don’t think that this report takes into account everything that it should…
The press release shows that in 2010 a total of 36963 tonnes of batteries and accumulators were recycled, while in 2011 only 34997 tonnes were recycled. We can also see in the break down that the main decreases occurred with the Primary ZnC, Alkaline, Zn-Air batteries, these batteries being the ones used by most of the public in everyday.
One thing that comes to my attention is that there is no way to tell if this decrease is because people are throwing away batteries more or whether it’s simply a case of people not buying as many batteries, therefore not recycling as many. It is a huge possibility that this decrease in the recycling of batteries is just a product of people not buying as many batteries any more.
With the rise of rechargeable batteries and devices, there is not much of a need to buy regular batteries. Personally everything I own apart from maybe a TV remote is rechargable, I honestly can’t remember the last time I even bought batteries! The likes of cameras, phones, video game controllers, music devices and even some toys are all rechargeable. It wouldn’t be too far fetched at all to presume that this was the cause of the drop in recent years.
Another possibility is that people are not fully aware that you can recycle batteries. Nowadays you can and should recycle all rechargeable, lithium, lithium ion, and zinc air batteries. In fact pretty much any household battery can be recycled. The amount recycled should soon see an improvement though, as recently a new european directive came into place that enforces any distributor of 32kg of batteries or more per year in an individual store, must provide a free in-store battery take back facility.
While I have expressed my concern over the way the statistics were possibly not presented in the best way possible, I still believe that the UK and Europe can still improve when it comes to recycling, and not just battery recycling. The more everyone does the better!