Annual report

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3,357 tonnes
Collected weight
Collection points
Collection rate
> 90%
Collection efficiency

2020: a challenging but successful year 

The year 2020 will go down in history as the year in which the corona virus called a halt to daily life and we were all confined to our own ‘four walls’. Bebat has been successful in safely continuing its battery collection, and has achieved great results and managed to continue its innovations despite the peculiar circumstances this year. 

In 2020, Bebat joined the Belgians in collecting 3,357 tons of batteries. That was 7% less than in 2019, but a wonderful result considering the corona crisis. After all, many collection points were forced to close during the lockdown, causing collections to decline for a while. In order to take the pressure off overstretched collection points, such as grocery stores, recycling stations and schools, we even made a television appeal to delay returning batteries for a few months. 

More and
more customers are finding their way to Bebat. We have added 377 new participants this year, taking us to a total of almost 3,700. We have taken major steps in making it easier to work with Bebat. To support our participants, Bebat has allowed delayed payments during the lockdown. Also, a participants’ guide has been launched, containing a handy summary of useful information.

In 2020,
a significant number of individual contracts for batteries >20 kg were signed for the collection of batteries for EV and energy storage, allowing us to gradually gain more ground in this new market.

Following an extensive test phase, our
safety plans began taking shape in 2020. This means we can safely continue our collection and sorting in the future, taking into account the rapid evolution in the field of batteries. New collection containers have been designed and gone into production, and we took the first steps for our new track & trace system. Bebat has developed fire-resistant containers for industrial and large batteries that are so unique that we have applied for a patent.

The musical accompaniment was provided by Slongs Dievanongs; together with Bebat and The Voice Kids she developed a cheerful tune with an important message. In her song ‘Pachamama’, she appeals to people to take better care of the planet, and ‘to start with themselves’ by handing in their batteries at Bebat collection point. The song went down very well and received quite some media attention.

Corona will remain the number one topic in 2021. Bebat will continue
working safely to collect even more batteries and improve their sorting and recycling. In 2021, we will start to roll out our safety plan, and we will install 17,000 smart, new collection containers in the market. We will develop and support initiatives for the reuse of certain types of end-of-life batteries and continue to innovate for a better environment.

We may live in strange times but we have the fullest confidence in the future because we can continue to count on the goodwill of all Belgians and of all of our partners. Thank you! 

Peter Coonen
Managing Director
Yves Van Doren


At Bebat we work for a better environment by collecting ever more used batteries and recycling them ever better.
We make the collection and recycling process as easy, safe and efficient as possible.
We stimulate sustainable use, collection and recycling through a wide-ranging and transparent communication strategy.


Bebat is a non-profit association (NPO) established in 1995 by the battery manufacturers to enable companies to meet the take-back obligation. 

Bebat gives new life to used batteries and ranks among the world leaders in the collection of used batteries. Used batteries can be handed in at one of 24,000 collection points, convenient and free of charge. Bebat organises their collection as well as the sorting and recycling process.

The Bebat management board is formed by representatives of the following companies, organisations and government authorities: 

What does Bebat do for its participants?



Registering and reporting the number of batteries brought onto the market.


Collection network

Organising and maintaining a nationwide collection network.


Raise awareness

Raising consumer awareness and taking preventive actions.


Collection objective

Reaching the legal collection targets.


Reporting weight

Reporting the collected weight.


Recycling correctly

Recycling the collected batteries in the appropriate manner.


Recycling efficiencies

Achieving and reporting on the legal recycling rates.


Total number of participants.
Number of participants with an annual declaration 
Number of participants with a monthly declaration
Number of participants to bring separate batteries onto the market
Number of participants to only bring batteries onto the market that are insalled in a device
Number of participants to bring onto the market both separate batteries and batteries installed in a device


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. 

Full audits
Online audits

Batteries brought on the market

* Note when using the figures: the figures are sometimes rounded to the unit. This may cause discrepancies between the totals displayed and the sum of the individual digits. 
Rechargeable versus non-rechargeable
Portable - Industrial - Automotive
Built-in versus replacement market
* Note: when using the figures: the figures are sometimes rounded to the unit. This may cause discrepancies between the totals displayed and the sum of the individual digits.
* Note: when using the figures: the figures are sometimes rounded to the unit. This may cause discrepancies between the totals displayed and the sum of the individual digits.


The year 2020 was a highly unusual year due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and, consequently, the closure of non-essential shops and certain sectors. The declarations were made more difficult because our participants had an extremely heavy workload (essential shops) or had to put employees on economic layoff. Consequently, Bebat granted a postponement for the declaration periods of February, March and April 2020 for submitting declarations, as well as a payment extension for several months. During the first half of the year, there were strong signs of a significant decrease in the number of marketed batteries, but this decline gradually diminished during the second half of the year.

A total of 253 million batteries were placed on the market in 2020. This is a slight increase of 1% compared to 2019. This increase is primarily the result of the growth in non-rechargeable batteries and, more specifically, the growth of alkaline and lithium primary batteries. The number of rechargeable batteries placed on the market remained stable compared to 2019.

The total weight of the batteries placed on the market in 2020 was 56,491 tonnes. We noted a decline of 6,518 tonnes, or 10%, compared to 2019. This decrease is primarily due to the fact that fewer lead-acid batteries, in particular industrial and automotive lead-acid batteries, were placed on the market. This is not surprising considering the highly negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the automotive industry in particular and on industry in general. 

Another reason for the decrease in the total weight of batteries on the market in 2020 is that manufacturers had the possibility to declare lithium rechargeable batteries with a weight > 20 kg for hybrid and electric cars, vans and motorcycles to two management bodies.

The discrepancy between the slight increase in the number of batteries placed on the market and the significant decrease in the weight placed on the market is due to the industrial and automotive batteries placed on the market. These batteries represent only 2% of the total number of batteries placed on the market, while they constitute 90% of the total weight. 

We have noted that the weight of the portable lithium rechargeable batteries placed on the market has increased significantly, while the quantity has remained more or less stable. This means that the portable lithium rechargeable batteries placed on the market are becoming increasingly heavier. These are primarily tool batteries and batteries used in different kinds of home and garden robots. 

Growth in 2020 was significant compared to 2019 for bicycle batteries, both in terms of quantity (+44%) and weight (+39%). This is not surprising since quite a few people ended up cycling more often in 2020 due to the coronavirus measures. 

Bebat also has a good overview of the number and weight of built-in batteries versus batteries on the replacement market. In 2020, 70% of the total number of batteries were placed on the replacement market and 30% built into appliances, vehicles, etc. In terms of weight, this translated into 57% on the replacement market and 43% built-in batteries.

Collection results

Total collection result in terms of weight (in tonnes)
Collection results portable batteries in terms of weight (in tonnes)
Overall collection results per collection channel (in %)

Overall collection results per collection channel  (in %)

The total amount of batteries collected in Belgium decreased in 2020 by 7%, or 267 tonnes. The impact of Covid-19 on society has a negative effect on collection figures since last March. 

This was particularly noticeable in schools, which experienced a decrease of 43%, followed by retail, with a decrease of 5%. The impact at companies (+4%) and recycling facilities (+9%) was less significant and there were signs of growth.

The total 7% decrease in 2020 for all regions and across all channels does not align with the efforts and initiatives we undertook throughout 2020 to maximise the collection figures. Due to the fact that, during various time periods, the government introduced special measures to cope with the Covid-19 crisis, we were no longer able to create continuity for the influx of batteries via our collection channels. 

  • The figures here represent the weight of each collection channel by the region and for the whole of Belgium.

In Flanders, companies continued to be the most important collection channel (37%), followed by recycling facilities (28%) and retailers (19%). In Wallonia, companies (32%), recycling facilities (30%) and retailers (17%) were the primary collection points in 2020. In Brussels, the primarily collection channels were retailers (32%) and companies (28%).

Collection rate

Collection rate 2020 Belgium

Appliances are becoming increasingly smaller, resulting in increasingly lighter batteries and a continuously lower average weight of the batteries collected by Bebat.

The collection percentage decreased compared to 2019. This is due, on the one hand, to the fact that many collection points were closed for longer periods of time or had limited access due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, on the other hand, due to a strong increase on batteries placed on the market over the past three years, parallel to a significant growth in lithium rechargeable batteries. These have a much longer service life than the reference period of three years used to calculate the collection percentage. 

The official calculation method does not sufficiently take into account the long service life of batteries, which is an average of six years. At 59.3%, Bebat more than achieved the official goal for Belgium and also exceeded the European goal defined for 2020 of 45%. These figures place Belgium more than 15 percentage points above the European average and, consequently, the country continues to be the leader in Europe, as well as the rest of the world.

> 90%
Percentage recycling efficiency

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.

icon belgium
Number of consumer movements

Appliances are becoming increasingly smaller, resulting in increasingly lighter batteries and a continuously lower average weight of the batteries collected by Bebat.

To collect the same amount of weight, consumers must return more batteries and, consequently, go to the collection points more often. In 2020, we recorded more than 10,650,000 consumer movements, around 200,000 fewer than in 2019. This decrease is due to the impact of the Covid-19 measures.


Recycling process

Sorting and processing

What do we sort and which materials can be recovered?

Processing plants

Recovering metals

What can we manufacture with the recovered materials?
used batteries
used batteries
used batteries
> 500,000
used batteries
used batteries
Watering can
used batteries

The average Belgian and batteries

  • 2 to 3
    The number of times a year the average Belgian hands in his batteries at a Bebat collection point.
  • 134 batteries
    An average family home contains 134 batteries, 31 of which are empty.
  • 80%
    of Belgians claims to return their batteries to a Bebat collection point. On average, Belgians store 74% of their used batteries and return them to a collection point on a regular basis. In addition, 60% of batteries from rechargeable devices are stored and returned regularly. 
  • 22 batteries (*)
    The number of batteries the average Belgian buys every year (*). 15 are bought separately, 7 are mounted in a device or vehicle.
    (*) Portable batteries only, not including industrial batteries
  • 97%
    are familiar with the Bebat system.
  • 87%
    know the Bebat brand as opposed to just 51% in 2010.
  • 74%
    consider Bebat a role model in the environmental sector.

Bebat 2020 declarations of batteries placed on the market
N.I.S. official population figures 01/01/2020
IVOX battery study 2020
Various household waste analyses 2011-2019

Image of a women who throws batteries in the Bebat collection point

Marketing campaigns

Bebat radio ad rated best of 2020

Last year, the world suddenly went into lockdown. It immediately became really important to make things happen quickly and, above all, to communicate clearly. In a world that was suddenly turned upside down, we decided to do the same to our key message.

We did not ask you to bring your used batteries to a Bebat collection point where they could be safely recycled. Instead, we told people it was best that their used batteries stayed inside just like the rest of the country. The safest choice for everyone! And with success! Based on a range of parameters, a DIVA study determined that our radio ad was rated the best ad of 2020!

It scored the highest points in 2020 for no less than four parameters:

  • Brand awareness: 74% of listeners wanted to recycle their batteries – after the lockdown, of course.
  • Content likeability: 67% said that the message appealed to them.
  • Fanship: 64% became fans of Bebat.
  • Net promoter score: 59% would recommend us to friends and colleagues.

A selection from our campaigns

Campagnebeeld week van de afvalvermindering

Week for Waste Reduction

During the European Week for Waste Reduction we teamed up with OVAM to run an awareness campaign on batteries in Flanders. 
De digitale brochures op een tablet

B2B Marketing

In 2020, Bebat increasingly invested in B2B marketing alongside its B2C marketing in order to encourage the recruitment of participants, as well as in an effort to share its battery knowledge and expertise. 
Gezocht campagne in Brussel

‘Wanted’ campaign in Brussels

The ‘Wanted’ campaign helped make people in Brussels more aware of all the batteries they have at home, told them more about the collection points for used batteries and encouraged them to bring in their batteries.
Zoek mee campagne Vlaanderen

‘Zoek Mee’ campaign in Flanders

Further to the successful campaign in Brussels in partnership with Brussels Environment, Bebat organised a similar campaign in Flanders together with OVAM.
Campagnebeeld batterijtesters

Battery testers campaign

During the European Week for Waste Reduction, we organised an activity to show off Brussels’ recycling centres.


Prevention campaigns to encourage the appropriate use of batteries and battery packs in order to optimise their useful life. 
De villa pila sorteerhal


Working in partnership with Djapo, Bebat developed lesson materials for each primary school level. 
Gezocht campagne in Brussel

Social Media

On social media, the necessary attention was paid to prevention in terms of the correct use of batteries. 
Voice kids

The Voice Kids campaign

We launched a partnership with The Voice Kids in order to creatively convey our message to the target audience.

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