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Estimating consumer batteries available for collection

A new report from North American stewardship organisation Call2Recycle provides important insights into the quantity of consumer batteries available for collection and recycling.
The report estimates that almost 6.7 billion batteries were sold into US markets in 2014, weighing 242.7 million kilograms. A comparison between the US, Australia, Germany and selected European Union countries highlights some important differences, for example:
– over 64% of batteries marketed in the US by weight were estimated to be alkaline or zinc carbon (i.e. single-use), compared to 48.6% in Australia and 71.5% in the EU
– Australia has a higher percentage of sealed lead acid consumer batteries (24.4%) than the US (17.7%), selected EU countries (16.6%) and Germany (2.5%).
The report also estimated the length of time between the purchase of a consumer battery and when it is available for collection. This is a combination of:
– the active life of the battery
– the ability to remove the battery from the device
– any period of time during which the battery is stored or ‘hoarded’.
A key conclusion of the report is that batteries available for collection must be calculated by estimating sales into the market, then adjusted for the lifecycle of the battery, minus those batteries embedded in products that are unlikely to be ever recycled separately.