Last post, Lilly looked at one example of battery stewardship in North America called Call to Recycle. So I thought I’d have a look at what is being done in Europe to limit the amount of batteries that end up in landfill.
In Belgium, the issue of battery consumption and proper disposal has been addressed since the 1988. (So we’re already over 20 years behind). BEBAT, is a non-for-profit organisation set up in 1995, that provides battery collection and treatment. They also have a strong focus on education and awareness collaborating with schools around the country. In Belgium, battery producers are subject to an eco-tax law but are exempt if they reach certain product collection targets. In 2012, the collection rate reached as much as 45%. By voluntarily registering with BEBAT producers can avoid the substantial cost of the tax and insure their products are recycled easily with little organisation responsibility. BEBAT is also regulated by three separate environmental agencies that ensures the organisation is run with the best interests.
This example is one of my favourites, because it demonstrates that is possible for the government, producers and environmental agencies to cooperate and work together. Here, the Australian government is hesitant to introduce compulsory battery stewardship. This is an initiative that puts pressure on producers without making it entirely compulsory, just in their best interest. Also it appeals to businesses as the collection and treatment is organised by a third party and does not mean extra resources.
In Switzerland a similar program called INOBAT is in place. It also operates to provide a collection and awareness programs. Producers report the volume of batteries put on the market and pay a fee. Retailers then must provide collection facilities to transfer to INOBAT. This program is mandatory but a collection rate of about 70% has been maintained since the 1990’s.
The advertisement below, is one run by INOBAT to encourage people to recycle their batteries. Their approach has long been one that uses comedy to point out the absurdity of not recycling batteries and it is one that appears to work.
The caption reads: “Apology accepted. All others must bring in their batteries.”
What do you think. Could Australia set up an initiative like those in Belgium and Switzerland?