No less than 3,624 tonnes of discarded batteries were collected in 2019, a 13% increase compared to 2018. The collection rate for portable batteries has therefore risen from 61.6% in 2018 to 67.2% in 2019, far above the targets set by the European and Belgian authorities. This makes us the absolute global leader, so we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who returned spent batteries last year.
Part of our success is explained by the fact that Bebat has made collecting batteries as simple and efficient as possible for everyone. Almost 24,000 collection points – 1 collection point per 500 inhabitants – in easily accessible places such as hypermarkets, supermarkets, shops, many schools, companies and recycling centres make it very easy for Belgians to recycle batteries free of charge.
Not only was 2019 a record year in terms of collection, it was also a record year for our participants. We have focused on more simplification. In 2019, we launched an online test that makes it easy for companies to determine whether they should join Bebat. We also paid extra attention to specific target groups, such as the light electric vehicles sector.
The result? In 2019, we counted 3,297 participants, compared to 2,765 in 2018. This represents an increase of no less than 19%, which has also made Bebat a leading European player in this field.
Another important factor is clear and warm communication. In 2019, we successfully launched 'A Small Gesture', which shows that if each of us makes a contribution – no matter how small – we can achieve great results together. We are using television and radio commercials and we have increased our visibility on social media and in school campaigns to make consumers aware of the need for selective collection, to encourage the return of batteries and to promote the correct use of batteries. For example, the ‘Major Spring Clean’ in Brussels and the 'Wanted' campaign in Flanders were an incredible success. We wish to continue on this path in 2020.
Speaking of plans for 2020, the current far-reaching coronavirus crisis is obviously also having an impact on our activities. We have limited the collection to those collection points offering essential services. We have also adapted our television and radio commercials by communicating to store batteries at home for the time being. The celebration of our 25th anniversary is put on the back burner and above all we are offering our participants the possibility to defer their payments until after the crisis. Since 7 April, we have resumed collections on a restricted basis and we sort and recycle again, all within the applicable rules in these exceptional circumstances.
Nevertheless, we want to continue to work together with all consumers, participants and partners towards a better environment through continuous recycling improvement in 2020. In doing so, we certainly have to take into account the changing collection flow. The size and power of batteries keep increasing. Their average weight is also going up and the proportion of batteries with a longer operating life continues to grow.
For us, one of the key topics for 2020 is therefore safety for our collection points, our partners and of course all Belgians. We therefore want to roll out a new and clearly focused safety plan in 2020.
To simplify the collection of batteries from electric vehicles, we have joined forces with our foreign colleagues to present Reneos, a solution that allows the collection of electric vehicle batteries throughout Europe.
At a European level, we want to actively contribute to the European battery directive that will be finalised this year. As battery life cycles continue to improve, we want to focus on 'availability for collection'. This allows us to continue to set the bar very high for ourselves and others whilst keeping our activities feasible in the future.
In 2020 we want to work with all Belgians, participants and partners to collect even more spent batteries safely and to keep improving the way they are recycled for a better environment.
Take care and stay healthy.
Bebat is a non-profit association (vzw) established in 1995 by the battery manufacturers to enable companies to meet the take-back obligation.
Registering and reporting the number of batteries brought onto the market.
Organising and maintaining a nationwide collection network.
Raising consumer awareness and taking preventive actions.
Reaching the legal collection targets.
Reporting the collected weight.
Recycling the collected batteries in the appropriate manner.
Achieving and reporting on the legal recycling rates.
Bebat helps participants meet all legal obligations. We try to make the process as simple as possible and to communicate in a transparent manner.
The audits are key in ensuring that all participants make a fair contribution to the Bebat system. Participants are audited at least once every 3 years.
The number of batteries put on the market in 2019 is up from 18,654,467 (8%) in 2018. This increase is mainly due to alkaline, zinc carbon and lithium primary batteries, but also to lithium rechargeable batteries.
Batteries used to power hybrid, plug-in and electric vehicles, also known as propulsion cars or Electrified Vehicles (EFVs), are up again this year (23%).The increase only occurs in the lithium rechargeable category (47%). The number of newly registered EFV vehicles in 2019 was 45,644, in 2018 this number was 29,549. 73% of the batteries of the newly registered cars were reported to Bebat.
If we look at portable, industrial and automotive batteries separately, we see that they evolve in a different way. Portable, industrial and automotive batteries show an increase, but industrial batteries show the strongest increase (35%) compared to portable (8%) and automotive (1%). Due to the fact that far fewer industrial batteries are marketed than portable batteries, this sharp increase in the number of industrial batteries does not weigh heavily on the total in units and we see an increase (8%) in the aggregated result.
The total weight put on the market increased by 6,058 tonnes in 2019 compared to 2018. This corresponds to a rise of 11%. This is mainly explained by a strong increase in lithium rechargeable propulsion car batteries and lead-acid batteries. The increase in the weight of lead-acid batteries put on the market is caused by industrial lead-acid batteries and automotive lead-acid batteries.
Within non-rechargeable batteries, zinc carbon (7%), alkaline (7%) and lithium primary (29%) rise. Silver oxide (-4%) and zinc-air batteries (-23%), on the other hand, are decreasing. In general rechargeable batteries the weight of nickel-cadmium (-4%) is decreasing while the weight of lead batteries (5%), nickel-metal hydride (13%) and lithium rechargeable batteries (4%) is increasing. There was a rise in the weight of EFV batteries put on the market (99%) compared to 2018. This is due to:
More than 152,000,000 batteries were collected in 2019.The quantity collected in Belgium increased by 13% or 416 tonnes in 2019. This is mainly due to:
Growth of 13% per year for all regions together and across the canals is exceptionally good. In terms of collection, this year even surpasses the exceptional year of collection 2016 with the particularly successful K3 campaign.
From 2014 onwards, it has been decided to list EFV batteries (batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles) collected from and for car manufacturers separately. In previous annual reports, this figure was included in the ‘companies’ channel’s collection figure.
In 2012 and earlier, the collection of EFV batteries was small and occasional and was not registered separately. In addition, only EFV batteries originating from the Belgian market have been taken into account in this annual report.
The figures below represent the weight of each collection channel, by region and for the whole of Belgium.
In Flanders, companies remain the most important collection channel (34%), followed by recycling centres (24%) and retail (18%). In Wallonia, companies (27%) and recycling centres (25%) are the main collectors in 2019. In Brussels, the main collection channels are retail (31%) and companies (28%).
According to the legal calculation method in Belgium, 67.2% is the collection rate Bebat achieved in 2019. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that the remaining 32.8% of batteries end up in the environment.
The legal calculation method takes insufficient account of the long life of batteries, which averages 6 years. With 67.2%, Bebat easily meets the legal objective for Belgium and thus outperforms the European target set for 2019 at 45%. Belgium is the clear front runner both in Europe and the world.
As the legal calculation method does not paint a realistic picture of the actual collection efficiency, Bebat frequently has household waste streams tested for the presence of batteries.
Several studies have shown household waste to contain just 1 battery per 100 kg of waste. This means that Bebat collects more than 90% of the batteries that consumers want to dispose of.
Devices keep getting smaller; as a result, batteries are getting lighter and the average weight of the batteries that Bebat collects keeps dropping.
For Bebat to collect the same weight in batteries, consumers must hand in more batteries and visit a collection point more often. In 2019 we generated over 10,850,000 consumer movements, approximately 1,200,000 more than in 2018.
Declarations of batteries put on market Bebat 2019
Belgian population NIS 01/01/2019
IVOX study 2018 Battery research
Insites 2019 - Evaluation Bebat campaign
IVOX study 2019 - Posttest Bebat campaign
Nearly 8 in 10 respondents spontaneously remember seeing the commercial.Upon seeing the commercial, nearly 8 in 10 respondents consider handing in their used batteries at a Bebat collection point.
Almost 7 out of 10 respondents consider this spot to be well made. More than 7 in 10 respondents call themselves a fan of recycling used batteries once they have seen the commercial. More than 7 in 10 respondents call themselves a fan of recycling used batteries once they have seen the commercial. More than 7 out of 10 respondents feel addressed by the message of the commercial. 92% of the respondents think it is clear that this commercial is for Bebat.
Nearly 8 in 10 respondents spontaneously remember hearing the commercial. Upon hearing this commercial, nearly 7 in 10 respondents consider handing in their used batteries at a Bebat collection point.
65% of the respondents consider this spot to be well made. More than 6 in 10 respondents call themselves a fan of recycling used batteries once they have heard the commercial. Almost 7 out of 10 respondents feel addressed by the message of the commercial. 85% of the respondents think it is clear that this commercial is for Bebat.