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Batteries plan means `New Year nightmare` for retailers

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Source: Materials Recycling Week

The Government should begin the battery regulations in April 2010 and not January 2010 to give more time to help retailers prepare for it, the British Retail Consortium warns.

The BRC is argues that the planned 1 January 2010 start date will create a “New Year nightmare” for retailers and put huge pressure on them because it is their “busiest time of the year and is precisely the same time they are expected to cope with the huge task of reversing last year’s VAT cut”.

The BRC is calling on the Government for the new regulation to begin on 6 April 2010. The BRC explained that April is one of the two common commencement dates each year for new Government regulation, with October being the other date. A BRC spokesman said: “This date gives retailers a reasonable amount of time to do things properly.”

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “This is the right aim but the wrong timing. Retailers are happy to provide an in-store collection system but having it ready to go right in the middle of the vital Christmas and New Year sales period will be a nightmare.

“The Government’s failure to meet last September’s required implementation date is no reason for setting retailers this unworkable deadline or leaving holes in their plans.
“To minimise cost and vehicle journeys, retailers must be allowed to combine collection from stores with deliveries. Online retailers need to be clear how they meet their obligations and in-store collection must be just part of a consistent collection system that encompasses other types of waste. An April start-date would allow all involved to get this right.”

The BRC is also concerned that the regulations may impose a “heavy burden” on corner shop retailers who may find it financially difficult to implement a collection system (see MRW story).

In addition to this, the BRC are concerned that classifying used batteries as hazardous waste will stop retailers collecting them from stores in the same vehicles that deliver goods to stores because hazardous waste regulations mean the same vehicle cannot be used. The BRC said that this would require extra vehicles and road journeys. The BRC stated: “Retailers accept safety is important but so-called ‘reverse haulage’ is the most efficient option and regulation must not prevent it”.

The BRC added that a growing number of “inconsistent schemes” are being introduced for dealing with waste products creating consumer confusion. It calls for “a single, easy to understand, scheme that covers all types of material”.

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