“BEBAT and its collection and recycling partners are facing a new challenge. In addition to the well-known collective collection system, the development of a system of individual, size-specific solutions that takes into account the specificity of batteries is urgent. ”
233 million batteries
These are the words of Martine Vanheer, director of Finance, Customer Service, Legal & Public Affairs of BEBAT vzw. This non-profit association not only coordinates the acceptance obligation of discarded batteries, but also has its own sorting center, SORTBAT. Companies that produce or import batteries on the Belgian market (either separately or built into a device) pay a fixed amount of BEBAT to take over that acceptance obligation from them. For example, last year BEBAT collected 233 million batteries from its 24,000 collection points. After sorting in SORTBAT, these batteries go to partner companies, each of which specializes in recycling certain types of batteries. This ranges from batteries for watches and smartphones to large industrial batteries.
Exponential rise in discarded traction batteries
BEBAT collects and recycles those batteries at cruising speed. The recycling capacity at home and abroad is sufficient. But the battery industry is changing. The emergence of hybrid and electric cars, in combination with that of the storage batteries, is creating challenges on the ground. Volumes of waste traction batteries will increase exponentially in the future. BEBAT must also find a solution for this group of batteries. “BEBAT has grown from a situation where rather small batteries were handled, with a certain uniformity in the collection, sorting and recycling process. The era of larger batteries is dawning. Producers / importers insist on an individual service. Some producers / importers want to handle everything themselves, others ask BEBAT to fully arrange their take-back obligation. In addition to the well-known collective collection system, the development of a system of individual, size-specific solutions, which takes into account the specificity of the batteries, is urgent, ”says Martine Vanheer.