Investigation into battery recycling in Ireland
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At present, battery recycling in Ireland is operated on a very small scale in comparison to other recycling projects such as glass and paper. Collection rates are no where near satisfactory with some counties as low as 20% collection rate. The disposal route for non-recycled batteries are dubious with the main non-reported routes being scrap metal merchants and the travelling community. The main reasons for the poor collection rate are a combination of poor recycling facilities, lack of public awareness, lack of enforcement by the relevant authorities and the cost involved in recycling if ventured into on a commercial basis. Experiences from other countries demonstrate that there are more efficient methods o f battery recycling. The lack of a national cohesive strategy on battery recycling has made the system reliant on one company for nearly all battery recycling in Ireland. This leaves Ireland very vulnerable to the fortunes o f one company and their ability to cope with the capacity. Should this company cease trading there would be virtually no legitimate battery collection in Ireland. Ireland is also vulnerable from the fact that all waste batteries are exported and relies on other countries to recycle this waste commodity. If these markets were closed there would be a serious crisis with the disposal of batteries. Ireland would, benefit from diversification within the industry, a taxation system on the use o f batteries, increased awareness campaigns, less reliance on other countries for waste disposal and enforcement of the current legislation by the relevant authorities. A tax or deposit/refund scheme on imported batteries would provide the necessary funds for battery recycling. This money would fund collection, recycling and information programmes.
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