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Negative news on battery recycling

Discount stores failing consumers

battery recycling content

Poundland and Lidl are still flouting battery recycling rules, six months after we first revealed that stores were failing to comply with EU regulations.

Repeating our May 2010 battery recycling investigation, Which? revisited several discount stores in late September to see whether they had improved their facilities for battery recycling.

Worryingly, not one of the four Poundland stores we visited had a battery recycling box, and three of the four Lidl stores we visited didn’t have them.

EU regulations introduced in February state that all shops selling over 32kg of batteries a year (around one pack a day) must offer battery recycling facilities. This is to help reduce the number of batteries that end up in landfill, where they may leak harmful chemicals.

Lidl’s excuses

Lidl told us that boxes had been stolen from two stores and the battery box must have been being emptied in the third. It added that as emptying the box only takes a few minutes, we must just have been unlucky to miss it.

When asked why several members of staff looked at us blankly when we asked about a battery recycling box, Lidl told us its initiative does not include informing floor staff about recycling facilities and many ‘probably don’t register that the boxes are there’.

Poundland said it was ‘deeply concerned’ to hear our findings, which it could not explain, and vowed to investigate fully.

We’ll be keeping an eye on these stores.

Further action

The enforcer of these regulations – the VCA – was disappointed with our findings. It said: ‘The VCA can, and will, bring action against distributors who ultimately fail to meet their legal requirements.’

Following our May exposé, Aldi had cleaned up its act and was offering recycling containers in all four stores we visited.

You can find more information on recycling batteries, and find out which batteries we rate as Best Buys, in our batteries review.

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