Farmers are being urged to recycle all waste batteries, especially farm fence batteries, by WEEE Ireland.
The warning comes as new legislation due later this year is expected to increase collection targets from 45% to 63% by 2027. Figures reveal almost 500t of waste farm fence batteries has 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 125t, 15% more than the 108t collected in 2021.
Speaking of the importance of farmers recycling batteries, Minister of State with responsibility for the circular economy Ossian Smyth 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,” he said.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said: “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 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 WEEE Ireland CEO Leo Donovan.
“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.”
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.