Legislation sets out battery-recycling rules

The new legislation describes how battery producers must aid the collection and recycling of waste batteries
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Parliament has been presented with new legislation regarding the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries and accumulators in the UK.

The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 legislation, introduced on Tuesday, requires anyone placing batteries on the market to register as a producer of batteries and report on waste batteries collected and sent for recycling, and lays out requirements for the treatment and recycling of waste batteries.

"These regulations will help reduce the environmental impact of batteries and accumulators, which contain potentially harmful material," economic and business minister Ian Pearson said in a statement from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). "We are committed to helping minimise the impact on the environment of this kind of waste and this is the latest measure to help us achieve a cleaner environment."

The government has a target of collecting waste portable batteries equivalent to 25 percent of sales by 2012 and 45 percent by 2016. To meet these targets, battery producers are being told to join a Battery Compliance Scheme (BCS), which will inform consumers how to return batteries for recycling.

From February 2010, some retailers of household batteries will have to accept waste batteries in-store.

The new legislation comes into force on 5 May this year, with the first compliance period beginning at the start of 2010. Throughout the rest of this year, BERR expects potential BCSs to sign up with the relevant environment agencies, recruit battery producers and work out how the collection and recycling of the batteries is to take place.

The legislation complements the Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 legislation that came into force in September 2008. Those regulations included a requirement that electronic devices' batteries have to be easily removable.

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