New battery regulations for UK

New regulations that set the framework for businesses wishing to put batteries on the UK market from September 26, 2008 were published after being made by Department for Business Minister, Malcolm Wicks.

The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 set out the technical requirements with which producers of batteries, and battery-powered appliances, must comply from September, 2008.

The Regulations, which implement certain provisions of the EU Batteries and Accumulators Directive, aim to:

  • Facilitate the free movement of compliant batteries across the EU;
  • Protect the environment by reducing the levels of heavy metals they are allowed to contain; and
  • Introduce a labeling regime in preparation for coming “producer responsibility” legislation designed to achieve high collection and recycling rates.

The requirements include:

  • Materials prohibitions - restrictions on the use of mercury and cadmium in the manufacture of batteries, unless they are to be used in specific exempt appliances, or in industrial applications, in the case of cadmium.
  • Labeling - the application of the “crossed out wheeled-bin” and the chemical symbols for lead, mercury or cadmium, where appropriate.
  • Removability of waste batteries from certain appliances, which manufacturers will be required to design so that access is readily available.

The Regulations will apply to all batteries and accumulators - no matter their type or where they are manufactured, whether in the UK, the EU or imported, and whether sold loose or incorporated into appliances.

The Regulations also set out the enforcement regime in the UK, which will ensure a level playing field for anyone placing batteries on the market.