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Statistical information on recycling batteries and accumulators

Recser Oy, which organises battery recycling in Finland, compiles annual statistical information on behalf of its producers on both collected batteries and accumulators and batteries and accumulators put onto the market, and provides them to the authority in charge of producer responsibility, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) of Pirkanmaa.

A 9% increase in batteries and accumulators collected by Battery Recycling in 2019

More than 1,600,000 kilos of portable batteries and accumulators were collected by Battery Recycling in 2019, which is more than ever before. This is an increase of 9% compared to the previous year.  Last year, 295 grams of portable batteries and accumulators were collected per resident, which is the equivalent of a large bag of candy. The amount of portable batteries and accumulators put onto the market also increased by 9% last year.

The amount collected surpassed the statutory minimum collection rate of 45%. The collection rate is calculated based on the batteries and accumulators put onto the market over the past three years. This means that the rate does not indicate that the rest, 55%, of batteries and accumulators ended up in mixed waste, but that most of them probably remain in use or have been exported for re-use, for example.

Of the batteries and accumulators brought onto market in 2019, up to 29% were rechargeable with life spans varying between 4–10 years. A significant number of battery-powered devices are also exported for re-use each year, meaning that they are never recycled or included in statistics in Finland 1).

Portable batteries

Consumers return batteries to stores

Consumers are used to recycling used batteries and accumulators to the more than 10,000 collections points in stores: stores receive up to 57 per cent of all separately collected batteries and accumulators.

In addition to stores selling batteries and accumulators, the Battery Recycling system includes hundreds of recycling points maintained by municipalities and private waste management operators (collection point search: kierrätys.info). Battery Recycling also collects batteries and accumulators directly from thousands of private and public sector locations that produce battery and accumulator waste.

Single-use batteries most collected and recycled

More than 90 per cent of all batteries and accumulators collected were single-use alkaline or similar batteries. Only a small number of lithium batteries, which have become more prevalent in recent years, end up in the recycling system for the time being. This is partly due to their long life span and the fact that some of them end up in re-use in electrical and electronic equipment outside Finland.

Relatively, the most recycled type of battery is the nickel-cadmium battery used in hand-held electric tools. These batteries are currently prohibited on the market. In 2019, triple the amount of these batteries compared to the number of batteries released onto the market was collected.

Of the lead-acid gel batteries collected, 90 per cent were recycled as material, and of other batteries and accumulators, such as alkaline batteries, nickel-metal-hydride batteries and lithium batteries, at least the statutory 50 per cent were recovered. The nickel-cadmium batteries collected were stored to await transportation to processing plants.

Read more about the utilisation of different types of batteries and accumulators here: www.paristokierratys.fi/en/how-to-recycle/recycling-process

National and Europe-wide producer responsibility statistics

The authority in charge of overseeing producer responsibility, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) of Pirkanmaa, compiles annual national producer responsibility statistics and provides them to the European Commission.

The national producer responsibility statistics on the number of batteries and accumulators collected since 2010, for example, can be found here: www.ymparisto.fi/fi-FI/Kartat_ja_tilastot/Jatetilastot/Tuottajavastuun_tilastot

The European Commission statistic on the sales and collection of portable batteries and accumulators can be found at: ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-datasets/-/env_waspb