Commenting on the acquisition of the shareholding and plans for BatteryBack, Peter Hunt, chairman of the WasteCare Group, said: “We are delighted to announce this news. WasteCare is already the largest collector of portable batteries in the UK; combining this with the UK’s largest battery producer compliance scheme, we are best placed to benefit from economies of scale and provide the lowest sustainable obligation costs.”
“Currently, obligation costs in the UK are a fraction of those in the rest of Europe and it is our intention to keep it this way”, added Mr Hunt.
The WasteCare chairman also said that the group had enjoyed an “excellent relationship with Veolia from the inception of BatteryBack in 2008 and we envisage this will continue long into the future. With the challenges ahead, it was agreed that one owner would be more effective than two.”
On the collection front, BatteryBack already collects from retailers such as ASDA, Morrison’s, Tesco, Boots, Argos and Poundland as well as from businesses and some local authorities. Building on these collections, Mr Hunt signalled an expansion plan for BatteryBack.
To help ensure that the UK meets tighter recycling obligations for portable battery recycling, he noted that the company plans to “to treble the number of recycling points to over 100,000, focusing on schools, public buildings and the work environment.”
And, the company is also planning to build what it considers would be the UK’s first battery recovery plant capable of processing the country’s entire alkaline and lithium battery output.
“Currently, obligation costs in the UK are a fraction of those in the rest of Europe and it is our intention to keep it this way.”
Chairman, WasteCare Group
BatteryBack was established as the first producer compliance scheme in 2009 as the battery recycling regulations were being developed. WasteCare estimates that it is responsible for “collecting and recycling over 60% of all the portable batteries recycled in the UK”.
Martin Wadsworth, compliance account manager at BatteryBack, said the scheme was looking forward “to building on its work with local authorities and schools over the coming months” to complement its larger scale collections.
Collections are made free of charge, he explained. “We have a network of depots across the UK and are running daily collections of batteries.”
And in terms of value, he said that “the only real value is in large volumes because of the evidence value. In certain circumstances where we receive very large volumes, we can look at the possibility of some kind of incentive or rebate.”
The location of WasteCare’s recycling plant is still being finalised. At present most of the batteries are shipped to plants in France and Belgium for processing, with some being stored for future processing in the UK.