Business and Economics Minister, Ian Pearson, said:
'We are keen to hear from you on our approach to collect and recycle the many thousand of tonnes of waste batteries that are generated each year. This Consultation sets out the proposed systems for introducing 'producer responsibility' for diverting many portable, industrial and automotive batteries from disposal in landfill sites, when commercial collection and recycling activity is not doing the job'.
The draft Regulations will place obligations on producers (that is battery manufacturers and importers), to collect and recycle waste batteries, and on distributors (retailers), to take back waste portable batteries. This approach reflects the different requirements of the Directive.
Producers of portable batteries will be required to join 'Battery Compliance Schemes' in order to meet annual collection targets starting in 2010. Through schemes, producers will have to register with the Environment Agency, report sales and fund the collection, treatment and recycling of waste portable batteries as well as contribute to publicity costs. However, producers that place very small quantities of batteries on the UK market will be exempted from financing collection, treatment and recycling. Distributors will have to take back waste portable batteries at no cost to consumers, although retailers that sell very small quantities of batteries will be exempt.
A significant proportion of industrial and automotive batteries are already separately collected and recycled. The proposed approach maintains much of the established infrastructure that has resulted in the current high levels of collection, whilst providing a 'producer safety-net'. Producers of industrial and/or automotive batteries will be required to register and report the tonnages and chemistry of batteries they place on the UK market. Disposal of industrial and automotive batteries in landfill or by incineration will be banned. Industrial battery producers will be required to take back waste industrial batteries on an 'old for new' basis, and also be ready to take back any other waste industrial batteries if required. Automotive battery producers will be required to take back waste automotive batteries on request from final holders such as garages and ELV Treatment Facilities, and Civic Amenity Sites when commercial collectors are uninterested.
This consultation will run from 22 December 2008 through to 13 February 2009 and seeks views from consumers, businesses and industry on the proposed Regulations and implementation. Full details of the proposed Regulations are available online.