Britain is failing to meet key European Union targets on battery recycling.
EU regulations stipulate that the UK must recycle 25 per cent of batteries sold in the country by 2012, and 45 per cent by 2016.
The UK currently recycles just two per cent, according to government figures.
"Most of the 25-30,000 tonnes of portable batteries placed on the market each year are currently sent to landfill," said Joan Ruddock, parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
"At present only about 600 tonnes are collected for recycling."
Ruddock acknowledged that some types of batteries are recycled in the UK, notably the button cells used in very small electronic devices.
But the majority of alkaline batteries are shipped to other EU countries for processing, since there is no UK facility capable of recycling the units.
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