Collection Efficiency And Recycling Rate

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Each country establishing a collection scheme is trying to bring its own definition of recycling and collection rates. It appears that a standardisation at the european level is needed.

6.1. EU Legislation on Waste

The various european directives on waste management do not present a clear definition of terms as collection rates and recycling rates. There is a general trend to forget that recycling is a generic term for a sequence of operations starting with collection, consolidation, sorting, processing and finally re-use and/or recycling of recovered materials. Disposal in landfill is another end of life management of materials that cannot be re-used advantageously.

A definition of the term "waste" is given in the Waste Directive 75/442/EEC as "any substance or object which the holder disposes of or is required to dispose of'.

A further reading of the text of Directive 91/156/EEC (presented as an amendment to Directive 75/442/EEC on waste) gives examples of the types of waste in Annex I (06 paragraph. Unusable parts, e.g. rejected batteries, exhausted catalysts, etc.) and also mentions, under Q16, any materials, substances or products which are not contained in the above Q1 to Q15 categories.

In Annexes IIA and IIB, materials in "temporary storage on the site where they are produced" are not considered a waste.

So, if collection and/or recycling rates are evaluated , batteries in temporary storage should not be considered as they are not a waste. One should take into account the quantities available for collection and not the quantities introduced into the market. As we have seen in Section 3 of this chapter, a significant fraction of the rechargeable batteries remains in home storage (in use or not in use). As long as they remain is such a position they have not to be considered as a waste.

6.2. United Nations and OECD Environmental Indicators

In the absence of clear indications from the european directives on this subject, the recommendation is made to use the definitions proposed by the United Nations Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (UN 2000).

In the list of Indicators for Environmental Aspects of Sustainable Development, the UN CSD Methodology Sheet gives a definition of the environmental indicator: Rate of waste recycling.

The purpose of this indicator is to measure the proportion of waste which is reused and/or recycled.

The rate of waste recycling and/or reuse is defined as the volume of waste which is reused or recycled based on the volume actually generated at source on a per capita basis. The unit of measurement is the percent.

If one considers the specific case of spent portable Ni-Cd batteries, one can propose the following definitions.

The recycling rate for Ni-Cd batteries is the ratio between the quantity of batteries processed for recycling over the quantity of spent Ni-Cd batteries generated at source and introduced in the waste stream by the end-user.

In this approach, one can consider that the quantity of spent Ni-Cd batteries generated at source is equal to the quantity that the end-user is eliminating via several routes, like MSW and/or voluntary landfill (VL), and the quantity that is collected for recycling in dedicated processes or not. If we take the example of Ni-Cd batteries, one can consider for simplification two factors:

The first one is the quantity of Ni-Cd batteries not processed for recycling but eliminated as a waste , Q. spent Ni-cd n r. where,


Q- msw = Quantity eliminated in MSW Q. vl = Quantity introduced in landfill

The quantity of used batteries processed in recycling plants in Europe can be described by the following equation:

Q- Ni-Cd P.R. = Q- SNAM+ Q- SAFT + Q- ACCUREC + Q- RECYCLER + • • • (2)

with Q. Ni-cd p.r. = quantity processed for recycling

In this equation, Q. accurec , Q- snam, Q- saft represent the quantities of used batteries collected in various EU members states and effectively processed at SNAM, SAFT and ACCUREC that are the officially known recycling plants. Any other quantity processed at a new recycling plant could be included in this equation as Q. recycler •

This value, Q. Ni-cd p.r. corresponds to the quantity processed for recycling established on consolidated quantities processed during a fiscal year and is not related to any intermediate stock neither in the source country nor at the recycling plant.

Using these measurable sources of information, a recycling rate (RR Ni-cd - equation 3) for Ni-Cd batteries can be established on a country by country basis in the EU. It can be easily transformed on a per capita basis, using a global or local EU member state approach.

RR Ni-Cd (y) ".= (Q. Ni-Cd P.R. (y)X 100 / Q. Spent Ni-Cd (y ) + Q- Ni-Cd p.r. (y) (3)

Indeed, according to the UN definition, the sum Q. spent Ni-cd (y) + Q- Ni-cd p.r. (y) represents the total quantity of spent Ni-Cd batteries generated at source.

6.3. Application of the UN Recycling Rate to Ni-Cd Batteries in Europe

The first application of this formula was proposed by STIBAT and the results were presented in 1999 at the Battery Recycling Conference held in France (Deauville).

STIBAT is controlling the market introduction of all batteries with a weight inferior to 1 kg. It has also the control of 100% of spent batteries collected by municipalities, professionals and private collection systems. In order to evaluate the flow of batteries escaping the collection circuit, in 1998 STIBAT has organised a campaign to measure the quantity of spent batteries present in MSW streams in the Netherlands. The application of formula 3 to the case of the Netherlands leads to a collection rate of 77% for used Ni-Cd batteries as illustrated in Table 5.

The wider application of this formula on the european basis requires the measurement of used batteries in several major waste streams (mainly the MSW).

Table 5. Application of the Recycling Rate Formula:

The Netherlands'Case, 1998 (Source: STIBAT)

Table 5. Application of the Recycling Rate Formula:

The Netherlands'Case, 1998 (Source: STIBAT)

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