China plans crackdown on illegal recycling of lead batteries

by Reuters
Thursday, 24 January 2019 11:09 GMT

* China targets lead battery recycling rate of 70 pct by 2025

* Target for 2020 is 40 pct, up from estimated 30 pct in 2017

* Companies that recycle lead from batteries to get tax benefits (Adds detail, background)

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Jan 24 (Reuters) - China will crack down on illegal lead recycling and aims to raise the collection rate of lead acid batteries for recycling to 70 percent by 2025, the environment ministry said on Thursday.

The country's growing reliance on batteries for cars, electric bicycles and energy storage has increased recycling demand, but much of it has been met by illegal, informal enterprises with poor pollution standards, according to a document on the website of China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Companies that produce recycled lead from waste batteries will be entitled to preferential tax policies, the document said without providing details, while vowing to "severely crack down" on any illegal collection and dismantling.

The document also carried the name of several other government departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as China extends the focus of its nationwide anti-pollution campaign from air to soil and dangerous waste.

A 2017 estimate from a Chinese government think tank said that China produces about 3.3 million tonnes of waste lead batteries every year and that less than 30 percent of them are recycled properly.

That recycling rate will rise to 40 percent by 2020 and 70 percent by 2025 by holding producers to account for the fate of their batteries, the document said. A "battery traceability system" will be implemented by the end of 2020, covering the entire lifecycle from production to recycling, it added. China's industry ministry said in May last year that it would create such a system for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Approved lead battery recycling capacity in China rose by 40.8 percent to 7.28 million tonnes by the end of 2018, the research arm of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said on Monday, pointing to significant increases in Guizhou, Shandong and Henan provinces. (Reporting by David Stanway in SHANGHAI and Tom Daly in BEIJING Editing by Christian Schmollinger and David Goodman)

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