WEEE Ireland reminds the agricultural sector to recycle farm fence batteries as new EU regulations approach
April 3, 2023
WEEE Ireland is urging the agricultural sector to recycle all waste batteries, especially farm fence batteries, as new legislation due later this year is expected to increase collection targets from 45% to 63% by 2027.
The not-for-profit compliance scheme for electrical and battery recycling made the call along with Ministers Ossian Smyth and Pippa Hackett, as figures reveal almost 500 tonnes of waste farm fence batteries have been collected for recycling since 2019.
Around 10% of the overall batteries collected by WEEE Ireland are farm fence batteries, and last year it collected and recycled 125 tonnes, 15% more than the 108 tonnes collected in 2021.
Speaking of the importance of farmers recycling batteries, Minister of State with responsibility for the Circular Economy at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ossian Smyth T.D., said: “We are reminding farmers that they can return their used farm fence batteries for free recycling at the point of purchase or through co-ops or local authority recycling centres.
“This will help Ireland achieve our national battery recycling target. Batteries contain valuable raw materials, and recycling these materials will help Ireland to transition to a circular economy, where waste is minimised, and products are kept in use for as long as possible, through design, repair and reuse.”
Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said: “I am delighted to support this campaign by WEEE Ireland to encourage farmers to recycle their old batteries for free. I would encourage all farmers to have a quick look around their farmyard and collect up any used batteries and bring them to their co-op, or wherever they are buying batteries, the next time they are going there.
“This is a free, simple and effective way for farmers to help the environment and keep their yards tidy at the same time.”
WEEE Ireland has operated a scheme for the takeback and management of waste batteries in Ireland since 2008, when the European Batteries Directive came into force.
“Like many other sectors, the Agri sector and their battery suppliers will be impacted by forthcoming new EU battery regulations this summer, which will update and replace the current rules,” said Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland. This includes a significant increase in collection targets to drive even better recycling and resource recovery efficiency. The heavier types of batteries from farms will be essential to ensuring Ireland reaches its targets, and WEEE Ireland is committed to helping the agricultural sector by providing a convenient and free recycling solution.”
In the context of the European Green Deal, the new Battery framework aims to pave the way for sustainable batteries supporting a more circular and climate-neutral economy. Key changes are the shift from a Directive to a Europe-wide Regulation, as well as new requirements for social responsibility and environmental sustainability covering the entire lifecycle of batteries and not just their end-of-life waste phase.
WEEE Ireland says it is crucial to recycle all waste batteries correctly as they may contain harmful substances that can result in heavy metals and chemicals leaching into the environment, contaminating water and soil sources and affecting wildlife, livestock and humans.
Farm fence batteries can be dropped off for free recycling at any local authority recycling centres or where they were purchased for collection by WEEE Ireland.
Suppliers of farm fence batteries are also required to accept these batteries back for free recycling from their customers.
As the not-for-profit compliance scheme representing farm fence battery importers, WEEE Ireland is calling on all co-ops and distributors to the Agri Sector to participate in this free collection program.
New Farm Fence Battery crates are available to co-ops and Agri supply companies to facilitate the recycling of old farm fence batteries.
To ensure safe recycling, batteries should be shrink-wrapped or strapped to the pallet prior to collection.
A minimum of one pallet stacked three rows high is required for collection. More information on proper storage and management of waste batteries and how to access collection services can be found on the WEEE Ireland website.
As part of its campaign, WEEE Ireland also reminds farmers and the general public to handle and dispose of all batteries safely and regularly to prevent potential hazards.