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2009 battery regulations go live!

28 May 2009

Businesses and householders will soon be asked to consider the batteries they sell, buy and use and what should be done with them once they have lived their useful life. New regulations became law on 5th May 2009 introducing the concept of 'producer responsibility' to both producers and retailers in the batteries supply chain.

2009 battery regulations go live!
2009 battery regulations go live!

The new rules affect all 'portable batteries' which include: the AA cells used to power your remote control; the rechargeable battery inside your laptop or MP3 player and the power pack fitted to your cordless drill.
All retailers selling over 32kg of portable batteries per year (the equivalent of about 30 AA cells per week) will have to offer free consumer collection points in store as of February next year. Fairly straightforward you might think, until you discover that waste batteries require special precautions to be taken and potentially registration of premises under hazardous waste regulations and must be treated as dangerous goods under the relevant transport rules.

For those classed as portable battery producers (anyone who manufactures or imports batteries into the UK) there are also issues. The target collection and recycling rate for 2010, which they must finance, is 10% of sales - more than three times the UK's current battery recycling rate. This figure then rises sharply until 2012 when a rate of 25% must be achieved with penalties for those who fail to achieve the target.
New rules also apply to automotive and industrial batteries; however producers of these types should not face too much difficulty due to their current high recovery rates.

Steve Gough, CEO of Valpak Limited commented: "Battery producers have until October this year to register with us but it would be a good idea to start planning and budgeting as soon as possible.
The costs are difficult to estimate and the only publicly available figures are from short term trial data which is unfortunately not representative.

However, Valpak are currently offering budget estimates for our members and we are confident that we can, as with other producer responsibility regimes, match or beat any competition.

Valpak Limited operate the UK's largest 'pre-compliance' information service for all businesses who think they may be affected by the battery regulations - and since January 2009 membership has been made free to any potentially obligated company. The service includes simple explanations and expert interpretations of the law, free member seminars and the most up to date information. Valpak also provide both information and solutions to retailers affected by the new laws.

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