Batteries Directive

Batteries contain potentially hazardous materials such as mercury, lead, cadmium, zinc, copper, nickel, manganese and lithium yet only about 3% of portable batteries are recycled.

 

To reduce the harmful effect of batteries on the environment, The Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive was issued by The European Commission on 6th September 2006.

 

The Directive requires member states to limit the use of certain materials in batteries and achieve minimum collection and recycling targets for waste batteries. The Directives policies were implemented into UK law by the Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 (effective from 26th September 2008) and the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations 2009 (effective from 5th May 2009).


The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 require manufacturers and importers of batteries (including products that contain batteries) to ensure that the batteries are marked with a crossed out wheeled bin and don't include high concentrations of hazardous substances.

 

From the 1st January 2010 the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations 2009 require businesses to take responsibility for the impact on the environmental when their batteries become a waste. The regulations set out what producers, distributors and recyclers must do to reduce the environmental impact of waste batteries. In particular producers will be required to finance the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries.


The Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive aims for 25% and 45% of portable batteries to collected by 2012 and 2016 respectively. To assess achievement in reaching these targets the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations sets some interim collection targets for the UK. It also aims to ensure that recovered batteries are treated to appropriate standards and targets, with companies that are referred to as ‘producers' being forced to pay for such treatment.

 

Retailers are often referred to as ‘distributors' in the legislation and have collection responsibilities for waste batteries and are expected to provide collection points in store where consumers may deposit their old batteries

Who is obligated?


Any company classed as a ‘producer' or ‘distributor' will face obligations under the legislation and therefore is at risk of prosecution if they don't meet their requirements. The Regulations provide some exemptions for small producers and distributors however.

 

Scope
The Regulations class batteries into three types: portable, industrial and automotive. All three types of battery irrespective of their type, size, weight or composition are within the scope of the Directive and UK regulations.

 


Link - http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/batteries/batteries-provisions.htm
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