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Recycling statistics of portable batteries

Batteries became under the scope of producer responsibility in 2008. Since then, the recovery rate of portable [1] batteries has risen steadily in Finland from approximately 15 per cent to just above 50 per cent.
In 2022, roughly 1.8 million kilos of batteries were recovered in Finland, about half of which, i.e. 900,000 kilos, could be reused as recycled materials. The volume of batteries of electric bikes and other similar light electric transport equipment [2] has multiplied on the Finnish market in just a few years, but thanks to their relatively long lifespan their rate of becoming disused remains low.

The amount of batteries that every Finn takes to the recycling is equal to a large bag of sweets

The amount of separately collected batteries has increased steadily in Finland over the last 15 years. This has fulfilled the annual statutory requirement (45%) set for separate collection of waste. Last year, 320 grams of portable batteries were collected per resident, which is more than a large bag of sweets. Converted to AA batteries, the per-capita recovery rate was 16 batteries.

The recovery rate, which has risen to about 50 per cent in recent years, is calculated based on the batteries entered onto the market over the past three years. In particular, because these batteries have a long lifespan, the rate does not indicate that the rest have ended up in mixed waste.

According to an EU-level estimate[3], around a quarter of the batteries that have not been collected separately may have ended up in mixed waste. The estimate states that the rest are either still in use or stored in people’s homes, or they have been taken to unofficial collection points or outside of Finland with devices and are being reused. Lithium-ion batteries, in particular, are a product group whose market share is constantly growing, and they often have a much longer lifespan (approx. 3–10 years) than non-rechargeable batteries. The EU’s upcoming Battery Regulation intends to increase the recovery rate, and changing the way that the rates are calculated is also under a review. See our article for more information.

Image 1: Finns returned more than 1.8 million kilos of batteries in 2022 to recycling through the official collection system maintained by producers. The collection rate decreased slightly from 2021, when the collected volume exceeded two million kilos.

The volume of lithium-ion batteries is increasing on the market, but alkaline batteries are recycled by far the most

The amount of portable batteries has been steadily rising on the markets. In 2022, registered producers reported that they had brought around 3.7 million kilos of them on the Finnish market. The volume was slightly lower than the previous year, when more than four million kilos of batteries reportedly entered the market in Finland for the first time. The volumes reported by registered producers do not include the volumes from those companies that have not honoured their producer responsibility or those batteries that are outside the scope of the producer responsibility.

Image 2: The distribution of portable batteries that entered the market in Finland in 2022.

About two thirds of the volumes that entered the market comprised non-rechargeable products, such as alkaline-based batteries or similar. However, the proportion of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries has risen steadily over the past decade, and now, they amount to roughly one quarter of all batteries on the market. Last year, the proportion of lead-based batteries of all portable batteries was four per cent, while the proportion of others, such as nickel metal hydride batteries, primary lithium batteries and silver oxide batteries, was five per cent (Image 2).

Image 3: The distribution of portable batteries that were recovered through separate collection in Finland in 2022.

The vast majority of the recovered portable batteries are alkaline ones. In 2022, approximately 80 per cent of the recovered volume was made up of alkaline batteries and similar, while seven per cent were lead-acid ones and six per cent were lithium-ion ones. The proportion of nickel metal hydride batteries, nickel–cadmium batteries and silver oxide batteries was around seven per cent. The number of collection points for portable batteries in Finland is around 13,000.

Electric transport batteries rising in volume

The number of batteries for electric transport on the market has multiplied in a few years. In 2022, it was reported that about 270 tons of batteries intended for e.g. electric bicycles and electric scooters were put on the market, while the figure was about 225 tons the previous year and about 80 tons in 2020. About 30 tons of lithium-based automotive batteries intended for starting mopeds and electric scooters were reported to be put on the market in 2022.

The volume of electric transport batteries on the market has multiplied in just a few years. For example, about 270 tonnes of batteries for electric bikes and scooters were reported to have entered the market in 2022, while their volume in 2021 was about 225 tonnes and in 2020 about 80 tonnes. In 2022, roughly 30 tonnes of lithium-based vehicle batteries intended for the start up of mopeds and electric scooters were reported to have entered the market.

In addition to many retailers that sell batteries for electric transport equipment, the recovery of these batteries takes place at regional collection points around Finland (collection point search: kierrä However, the volume of these batteries that end up in recycling is still small. In 2022, the combined volumes of recovered batteries from light electric transport equipment and lithium-based vehicle batteries was roughly 13 tonnes. The growth of these volumes is slow due to the long service life of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric transport equipment, which is six years on average.[3]

Nearly one million kilos of recycled materials recovered from collected batteries

An increasing amount of recycled materials is recovered from separately collected batteries to be used in new products. Legislation requires that at least half of the materials in the collected batteries be recycled. Furthermore, the separate collection rate will be increased significantly. See our article for more information.

Image 4: Around 900 tonnes of recycled materials were recovered from separately collected portable batteries in 2022. Visit our website to read more about the recycling processes, re-use purposes of recycled materials and the environmental benefits.

National and Europe-wide producer responsibility statistics

The statistics on portable batteries presented on this page are based on information compiled by Recser on batteries that have been brought to the markets by manufacturers that have transferred their responsibility to Recser, and collected and recycled by Recser on behalf of these companies.  This information is submitted to the authority that monitors producer responsibility, Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY), which puts together nationwide statistics and sends them to the European Commission. The national producer responsibility statistics on all types of batteries can be found here: Recycling Targets and Outcomes – ELY (in Finnish)

The European Commission statistic on the sales and collection of portable batteries can be found at:
Sales and collection of portable batteries and accumulators and Waste statistics – recycling of batteries and accumulators.

[1] A portable battery is a non-rechargeable or a rechargeable battery or a battery unit

that is sealed, can be carried manually and is not an industrial or automotive battery. (Government Decree 520/2014, Section 2(1)(4)). Examples of portable batteries include AA and AAA batteries and batteries used in mobile phones, laptops, toys, cordless tools and electric toothbrushes.

[2] Electric transport equipment batteries refer to e.g. batteries of electric bikes, electric mopeds and electric scooters, which under the current legislation are classed as industrial batteries (Government Decree 520/2014, Section 2(1)(7)). Contrary, batteries used for starting up similar equipment are classed as vehicle batteries (Government Decree 520/2014, Section 2(1)(6)). In the national statistics, these batteries are included in the total figures for industrial batteries and vehicle batteries.

[3] SWD(2020) 335 final. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT: IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT. Accompanying the document Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning batteries and waste batteries, repealing Directive 2006/66/EC and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 (The Commission’s impact assessment report).