European recyclers back DRS for batteries

The European Waste Management Association (FEAD) has described the European Parliament’s decision to back deposit return schemes (DRSs) for batteries in EU member states as “essential”.

On 9 December, the European Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee voted in favour of EU member states introducing DRSs for waste portable batteries

On 9 December, the parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee voted in favour of EU member states introducing mandatory DRSs for the collection of waste portable batteries.

FEAD is a Brussels-based trade association which represents Europe’s private resource and waste management industry. Its members in the UK include the Environmental Services Association.

In a statement, FEAD said the introduction of a DRS would divert batteries away from a wide variety of other waste and help avoid fire risks in waste facilities.

FEAD said the incorrect disposal of lithium-ion batteries posed a high risk of fires. It said that these fires could damage treatment and processing facilities for many types of waste.

Therefore, FEAD said, a mandatory DRS for batteries is “essential” to safeguard treatment facilities. It also said introducing a DRS would help to achieve high collection rates.

Peter Kurth, FEAD’s president, said: “The success of the ambitious recycling policy proposed by the new regulation will depend on the safe collection and high tonnages of waste batteries.”

UK

With the UK having fully left the EU at the beginning of this year, any measures adopted by the European Parliament have less bearing on domestic policy. However, any developments in Europe regarding the DRS will be viewed with interest in case the UK chooses to match the policy in future.

In September, the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced there would be a consultation to examine the recycling of batteries for electric vehicles “at the turn of the year”, after the Environmental Audit Committee raised concerns that there are currently “no recycling facilities” for lithium-ion batteries in the UK (see letsrecycle.com story).

Mr Kwarteng said Defra was considering the EU’s proposals for batteries regulation proposals alongside the review of the UK’s domestic batteries legislation.

Last week, Graeme Vickery, senior policy advisor at Defra, said his department’s much-anticipated consultation on batteries would take place “next year” (see letsrecycle.com story).

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