government powers up battery regulations

New recycling rules to come into effect from next year requiring stores to collect old batteries

Firms should find it easier to safely dispose of old batteries from next year after new regulations governing battery recycling were presented before parliament yesterday.

The wide ranging rules provide the legislative framework for the EU's batteries directive and are scheduled to pass into UK law this summer before taking full effect early next year.

Modelled on the waste electronic and electrical equipment directive (WEEE), the new Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations will require producers, manufacturers and retailers of batteries to take responsibility for the safe disposal of a wide variety of different battery and accumulator technologies.

Economic and Business Minister Ian Pearson said that the regulations would help reduce the environmental impact of the potentially harmful chemicals found in many batteries and accumulators, while also making it easier for end users to dispose of batteries safely.

Under the new regime, all companies that place batteries on the market will have to register as a producer with government agencies, report on the amount of waste collected and sent for recycling, and adhere to new environmental standards for the safe disposal of certain chemicals.

Producers of portable batteries will also have to join official compliance schemes that will manage the collection and recycling of waste batteries, as well as meet interim targets designed to ensure the directives target of collecting collecting waste portable batteries equivalent to 25 per cent of sales by 2012 and 45 per cent by 2016 are met.

In addition, large retailers will have to collect old batteries in store from February next year, while producers of industrial and automotive batteries will have to arrange separate collection and recycling of old batteries from customers

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