Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
This guidance is relevant if you manufacture, import, sell or distribute batteries or electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) that contains batteries.
If you manufacture or import batteries or EEE containing batteries and place them on the UK market for the first time, you must:
If you design EEE or machinery that uses batteries you must:
You must not place a battery on the market if it contains more than 0.0005% mercury by weight. There is an exception for button cells, which must have less than 2% mercury by weight.
You must not place a portable battery on the market if it contains more than 0.002% cadmium by weight. There are exceptions to this rule for:
If you manufacture or market batteries or battery packs you must label the battery with the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol.
The crossed-out wheeled bin symbol must be printed visibly, be easy to read and permanent. It must take up 3% of the area of the battery or 1.5% of the area of cylindrical batteries.
The symbol size should not be greater than 50x50mm. If the symbol will be smaller than 5x5mm because of the size of the product then it should be printed on the battery packaging and measure at least 10x10mm.
If you place a battery on the market containing mercury, cadmium or lead you must ensure that you label it correctly.
Hazardous substances in batteries
What you must do
If you place a button battery on the market that contains more than 0.0005% mercury it must be marked clearly with the chemical symbol Hg below the crossed out wheelie bin.
If you place a battery on the market that contains more than 0.002% cadmium it must be marked clearly with the chemical symbol Cd below the crossed out wheelie bin.
If you place a battery on the market that contains more than 0.004% lead it must be marked clearly with the chemical symbol Pb below the crossed out wheelie bin.
You must keep records of the types and total weight of batteries you produce and place on the market per year.
If you produce or market more than one tonne of portable batteries or products containing batteries or accumulators per year you must join a battery compliance scheme.
Portable batteries are small sealed batteries commonly found in household appliances, such as AAA cells, mobile phone batteries and button cells found in watches.
The battery compliance scheme will collect, treat and recycle your batteries on your behalf. The amount you have to pay will depend on the individual battery compliance scheme and the amount of batteries you produce or market.
You must register with your environmental regulator using the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) if you produce or place on the market:
You must apply to be registered using the NPWD within 28 days of the first day you place batteries on the market.
If you export batteries or products containing batteries to other EU counties you will have to register with the regulators in those countries and comply with local regulations.
For more information, read our guidance for battery producers.
If you produce industrial batteries you must take back waste batteries free of charge from customers if:
For more information, read our guidance for producers of industrial and automotive batteries.
If you produce vehicle batteries you must collect waste vehicle batteries free of charge from the final holders, such as civic amenity sites or garages.
If you are a retailer or distributor and you sell more than 32kg of portable batteries you must take back waste batteries in-store for free. If you only supply batteries contained in products you do not have to take back waste batteries in store.
You must not incinerate or landfill vehicle and industrial batteries.
If you collect batteries, you must:
You will need to deal with all unsorted waste batteries and some other waste batteries as hazardous/special waste.
Recycle waste batteries.
Use rechargeable batteries in the equipment and machinery you produce and service.
Store batteries safely and ensure that drainage from your store goes to the foul treatment system.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.
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