How do the Batteries regulations affect you?
The Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive (Batteries Directive) were introduced to protect natural resources and manage waste batteries for the benefit of consumers and the environment.
The Batteries Directive is a ‘producer responsibility’ directive which means that producers of batteries are required to take financial responsibility for the environmental impact of the products that they place on the market, specifically when those products become waste.
In the UK, the Batteries Directive has been transposed into national law by The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 (as amended) and The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009, as amended.
What are Batteries and Accumulators?
A battery or accumulator is any source of electrical energy generated by direct conversion of chemical energy and consisting of either:
- one or more primary battery cells (non-rechargeable or disposable batteries)
- or one or more secondary battery cells (accumulators or rechargeable batteries)
What’s in scope?
Batteries are classified as industrial, automotive or portable batteries.
A portable battery or battery pack is:
- under 4 kilograms
- not an automotive or industrial battery
- not designed exclusively for industrial or professional use
Batteries familiar in shape and size to the ones you use at home are most likely portable. However, some regular-looking batteries may have unusual voltages because they have a specific industrial use.
An industrial battery or battery pack is a battery of any size or weight, with one of the following characteristics. It is:
- designed exclusively for industrial or professional uses
- used as a source of power for propulsion in an electric vehicle or a ‘hybrid’ vehicle
- unsealed but not an automotive battery
- sealed and not a portable battery
A battery is not industrial just because a professional person, like a service engineer, installs or removes it from a piece of equipment.
An automotive battery is a battery of any size or weight used for starting or to power ignition for a road vehicle engine, or to power lighting in a road vehicle.
More information on identifying the different types of batteries can be found here.
Are you a Battery Producer?
You are a producer if, irrespective of the selling technique used, you place batteries, including those already in appliances or vehicles, on the UK market for the first time, on a professional basis.
This means a transfer by sale, loan, hire, lease or gift that moves the ownership from a:
- UK manufacturer to a UK distributor
- UK manufacturer to the final UK consumer or user
- manufacturer outside the UK to an importer in the UK or the person responsible for distributing the item in the UK
- manufacturer, or formal representative, direct to the final user or consumer
Find more information on what placing on the market means here.
Your obligations as a Battery Producer
- If your business places more than one tonne of portable batteries onto the UK market in a year, you must join a Battery Compliance Scheme (BCS) by 15th October prior to each compliance year. You will need to provide registration information about your company and the battery products it sells, which has to be signed by a director or company secretary (or relevant authorised person of a partnership or individual). REPIC’s straight forward registration process will guide you through this.
- Declare your battery producer registration number to any distributor or business end user that you supply your batteries to. This number is provided to you when you first register as a producer.
- Meet the requirements set out in the Batteries Regulations (Placing on the Market) 2008, as amended. These include battery labelling requirements and chemistry restrictions. More information on this can be found here.
- Where you are registered with a BCS:
- Notify your BCS of any changes to your registration information within 28 days of the change.
- Provide details of your Producer Identification Mark (PIMs).
- Calculate and provide information on a quarterly basis of the amount, in tonnes, of portable batteries that you have placed on the market in each of three chemistry types. This information will determine your waste portable battery financing obligation.
- You must finance the cost your BCS incurs in collecting and treating waste portable batteries, or otherwise finances, on your behalf. This obligation is calculated as 45% of the average tonnage of portable batteries you place on the market in the compliance year in question plus the preceding two years.
- Your BCS will register your business with the appropriate environment agency, as well as provide them with relevant information about the batteries your business has placed on the market and details of the waste batteries they collect and deliver for treatment and recycling to an approved treatment facility on your behalf.
- Producers of industrial and automotive batteries also have waste battery financing obligations but only as a backstop in the event the collection and treatment of waste batteries are not financed through the normal operation of markets. This means you are not required to join a BCS and instead must register directly with the Office for Product and Safety Standards by 31st March of each year. If your business however is a portable battery producer as well, you only need one registration and can register as an industrial and/or automotive battery producer through your portable battery compliance scheme.
- Retain records pertaining to your producer obligations for a period of four years from the date that they are produced.
- If your business places less than one tonne of portable batteries onto the UK market in a year, you must register with the Environment Agency by the 31st January each year and pay the annual registration fee. You need to report details of the tonnage of portable batteries you placed on the UK market but you do not need to register with a BCS nor make any financial contribution to collection, treatment or recycling of waste batteries.
If you provide batteries professionally to an end-user you will also be classed a distributor and must comply with these obligations separately. For more on distributor responsibilities, click here.