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Battery ‘hoarding’ trend among Japan’s consumers

Japan – Japan is expecting an annual volume of 650 000 tons of waste batteries to be collected by municipalities and electronics shops in the years ahead, according to Mike Takao, Panasonic Corporation councillor and member of the Battery Association of Japan (BAJ). This translates into a metal recovery potential of 280 000 tons, worth Euro 650 million (US$ 863 million).

Speaking at last week’s International Congress on Battery Recycling in Croatia, Takao pointed out that Japan has recently enforced the Small Home Appliance Recycling Law which requires the labelling of small batteries with a recycling logo as well as with the related chemical symbol (Ni-Cd, Li-ion, etc.)

In 2012, collections of small rechargeable batteries totalled 1483 tons in Japan, while some 200 tons of primary batteries and 3 tons of button batteries were also amassed for recycling, Takao told delegates who had gathered in Dubrovnik.

A BAJ study has revealed that battery-driven products are typically used for three years but are ‘hoarded’ in consumers’ houses for up to six years. From an analysis of the ‘meaning of disposal’, Takao concluded that consumers have most trouble throwing away ‘expensive products’ like cameras and reasonably small appliances that can be easily stored at home.

Small rechargeable batteries have an especially impressive disposal term, ranging from the base of three years all the way up to 16 years.

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