Over 4.8 million kilos of batteries and bicycle batteries were collected for recycling in the Netherlands in 2021
In 2021, which marked the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, 4.55 million kg of portable batteries were collected in the Netherlands. This is 3% less than in 2020. In the same year however, the collection of bicycle batteries increased by over 6%. In total, 4.8 million kg of batteries and bicycle batteries were collected in 2021, which is circa 2.5% less than the 4.9 million kg that were collected in 2020. This is according to the annual report by Stichting Stibat Services.
Lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19 affected collections. Many retail stores were closed, which meant consumers had no access to these collection points. Although more batteries were collected in supermarkets, the surplus did not make up for the weight that could not be collected in other retail establishments as a result of the mandatory closures. Additionally, batteries remain in circulation for longer because their quality is improving (lithium batteries) and because more bicycle batteries are being refurbished and reused.
Put on the market
The 2021 year saw an increase of the total weight of batteries put on the market, compared to 2020. The sale weight of portable batteries increased by 9% from 10.89 million kg to 11.87 million kg. The weight of bicycle batteries put on the market increased by nearly 17%, from 1.63 million kg to 1.90 million kg. The total sale weight of batteries and bicycle batteries together grew from 12.52 million kg to 13.77 million kg, an increase of 10%.
This increase can be explained by an increase in the average battery weight and the popularity of devices for which the batteries are used. It is not a result of the actual number of batteries put on the market, which in fact fell by 1.8%.
Arie de Jong, director of Stibat Services, explains where the sharp increase in weight has come from. “Batteries and accumulators built into devices have to last longer and longer, such as in your phone or laptop. More powerful batteries are therefore being built into devices. These are almost invariably rechargeable lithium batteries. The weight of the batteries in this specific group – built-in rechargeable lithium batteries – increased by 59% compared to 2020.”
Batteries and accumulators collected
Fewer kilograms of batteries were collected in 2021 than in the previous year. However, this does not mean that more batteries are ‘floating around’ in places they shouldn’t be. Batteries could still be in the shops (inside appliances). Others may still be in use by consumers as batteries and accumulators have an increasingly long lifespan. In addition, many discarded batteries have not been returned because they are built into the appliances, such as an old smartphone, which consumers have chosen to keep for a while ‘to be on the safe side’. Finally, some batteries are exported along with the repaired appliances they are in. For all these reasons, not all of the batteries put on the market are actually available for collection.
Positive impact on the environment
Stibat Services keeps the collection and logistics of batteries as environmentally friendly as possible by using electric transport, especially in densely populated areas. In 2021, this sustainable collection of portable and storage batteries prevented the emission of some 3.2 million kg of CO2 and 43.9 million kg of toxic substances in the Netherlands. Our collection of bicycle batteries prevented the emission of 602,000 kg of CO2 and 4.1 million kg of toxic substances.
About Stichting Stibat Services
When batteries or storage batteries come onto the market in the Netherlands, the producers and importers in question are legally obligated to collect and recycle “their” batteries at the end of their lifespan. In order to comply with this obligation, producers of portable and industrial batteries have been working together since 1995 under the banner of Stichting Batterijen. In 2015, producers of bicycle batteries followed in their footsteps and combined their strengths in the form of Stichting EPAC. For both foundations, Stichting Stibat Services carries out the legal duties pertaining to manufacturer responsibility. For more information, visit www.stibat.nl or www.legebatterijen.nl.