Battery Regulations – act now!
14 April 2009
Legislation on the recovery and recycling of used batteries become law in April 2009. Producers of batteries, or equipment containing batteries will have to fund the collection and recycling of used batteries, and most battery retailers will have to collect used batteries in their stores.
Battery Regulations – act now!
Under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009, all battery producers will have to register with an approved compliance scheme. They’ll then have to provide quarterly information relating to the amounts and types of batteries that they sell, which compliance schemes will amalgamate and submit to the Environment Agency. In addition, those who produce more than three tonnes per year will also have to fund an amount of used battery collection and recycling based on the weight they sell.
Valpak, the UK’s leading provider of producer responsibility and recycling solutions, are currently establishing a battery collection network. From the beginning of 2009 Valpak have been offering free membership of their battery ‘pre-compliance’ scheme to existing packaging and WEEE compliance members. Valpak are now planning to offer their pre-compliance service, free of charge, to any potentially obligated UK business.
Meeting the European recycling targets for portable batteries of 25% by 2012 and 45% by 2016 is likely to be a tough task since the UK is starting from a very low base. It will be Valpak’s job to organise used battery collection and recycling on behalf of its producer members. As with WEEE, Valpak are looking to build on the existing collection network, which Local Authorities, retailers and others have helped to establish, to collect, recover, recycle and treat batteries.
Steve Gough, Valpak’s CEO, commented: “We are confident that we will successfully comply for all businesses who wish to join us, but we would recommend that producers act now to ensure that we are able to fit them into the scheme. We are aware of a number of existing collection systems which have started early to meet customer and council tax demands for batteries recycling. These schemes have the experience and understanding of the scale of the task ahead, and Valpak will work with a number of these schemes, as well as a number of new initiatives, to ensure that we can build early foundations for successful compliance with the regulations in the UK. The task at hand is challenging to get to 25%, but so was the timeframe for WEEE. By working with others, planning well in advance of the regulations becoming live and by committing staff and resource now, we are confident that Valpak can offer a strong service in this area.”
The WEEE regulations in the UK have delivered in excess of the UK targets, to ensure that obligated businesses are meeting the costs of recycling those goods they put onto the market. Furthermore, Local Authorities, schemes and others are working in co-operation to deliver high standards of service to customers and householders alike. The UK system for WEEE could now be one of the most successful in Europe collecting from many more locations and with high levels of recovery at commercially viable rates.
The Valpak CEO went on to add: “Businesses should be working now to understand their responsibilities as a producer. They should start to calculate the obligations they may have from the batteries and products containing batteries they place onto the UK market. Working with Valpak, through the pre-compliance offering we have put forward, will ensure that they have the best chance of meeting the requirements of the legislation, and are prepared to turn a new cost into a new service offering for their customers and council tax payers. Our job has always been to meet the new pieces of environmental legislation at the lowest cost to our customers, without compromising the aims and objectives of the law. All other potential schemes should be focusing on these tasks and developing strong strategies early on to deliver these new regulations at lowest economic cost and highest environmental benefit.”
Valpak staff have already been meeting with a large number of potentially obligated businesses from across the UK, and have started work with Local Authorities, retailers and others to understand what practical challenges they will face in meeting the targets. To date all of the feedback staff have received on their plans has been hugely positive.
“There are still some points which require clarification,” Gough added, “and these are to do with the licensing around the storage and movement of batteries. The sooner these can be simplified and clarified, the easier it will be to build a network for batteries collection across the UK.”
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