Battery retailers and distributors have responsibilities under the UK system. They must offer free of charge collection, known as ‘takeback’, where 1 tonne of batteries, or more, are sold or supplied each year.
Producers of batteries must join a battery compliance scheme and pay for the collection, treatment and recycling of waste portable batteries.
Guidance published by the Department for Business in 2014 on the Batteries Directive and the Batteries Regulations explains the scope of the regulations which came into force in 2008.
A number of requirements are included in the legislation including showing a non-disposal symbol on the batteries and the regulators need to be informed of the chemistry of the batteries.
Rules also apply for the collection of lead-acid batteries from motor vehicles also apply and producer have a duty to collect these ‘free and within a reasonable timescale’.
One issue of concern has been that the UK has been collecting insufficient small portable batteries, such as AA type, and is meeting its targets through collection of car batteries – which have, generally speaking, always been collected.
A consultation paper is expected late in 2014 on this and in the summer of 2014 there were signs that the proportion of lead acid batteries being used to meet waste portable battery recycling targets was declining. In August 2014 the data indicated that the UK is on track to meet the 35% collection target for 2014, collecting over 7,500 tonnes of waste batteries to date, over an expected obligation of around 11,800 tonnes.