New legal requirements for garden centres selling batteries

New legislation on the recovery and recycling of used batteries is due to come into effect this month -- a law that will affect garden centres that sell batteries.

Producers of batteries, or equipment containing batteries, such as cordless tools, will have to fund the collection and recycling of used batteries, and most battery retailers will have to collect used batteries in their stores.

Under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009, all battery producers will have to register with an approved compliance scheme. They will then have to provide quarterly information relating to the amounts and types of batteries that they sell, which compliance schemes will amalgamate and submit to the Environment Agency. In addition, those that produce more than three tonnes per year will also have to fund an amount of used battery collection and recycling based on the weight they sell.

Recycler Valpak is now planning to offer a free pre-compliance service to any potentially obligated UK business.

Valpak says meeting the European recycling targets for portable batteries of 25% by 2012 and 45% by 2016 is "likely to be a tough task since the UK is starting from a very low base".  It will be Valpak's job to organise used battery collection and recycling on behalf of its producer members. As with 2007's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, Valpak is looking to build on the existing collection network — which local authorities, retailers and others have helped to establish — to collect, recover, recycle and treat batteries.

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