Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
There are three categories of waste batteries:
For further information, see our batteries guidance.
If you want to apply to offer a battery compliance scheme that collects, treats and recycles waste portable batteries, you must register with your environmental regulator between 15 April and 15 May in the year before you operate the scheme.
If you treat or recycle waste batteries you must have a waste management licence.
You must comply with the conditions in your licence or you can be fined or sent to prison.
If you treat waste batteries and your waste management licence was issued before the dates listed in the table below, you must comply with the following conditions:
These conditions have been added to your permit by law.
|20 May 2009||6 July 2009|
If your waste management licence was issued after these dates, you must comply with the conditions in your permit.
As well as having a waste management licence, you must apply to your environmental regulator to be an approved battery treatment operator (ABTO) if you want to:
You must apply to your environmental regulator to be an approved battery exporter (ABE) if you want to:
If you collect and transport batteries you must be a registered waste carrier or hold an exemption.
Most waste batteries are classified as hazardous/special waste. They contain potentially harmful chemicals and metals. You must follow regulations for dealing with hazardous/special waste.
Batteries contain chemicals that are highly polluting, flammable and explosive.
Keep spill kits near to where you might need them with clear instructions for their use. Make sure your staff know where they are and how to use them.
They can contain:
Make an inventory of all the equipment and materials you have on site. These should be suitable for the type and quantity of fuel, oil and chemicals you store and use.
Store and transport batteries in cases that are secure, waterproof, flame resistant, acid and alkali leak proof, shockproof and clearly labelled. Ensure your collection vehicles have adequate facilities, including lockable stillages, to transport batteries safely.
Group batteries by their chemistry. For example, store lead-acid batteries together and do not mix them with non lead-acid batteries, as this could cause a chemical reaction. Consider using software navigation systems to help you track consignments more efficiently.
You must ensure batteries are not crushed, compacted, or suffer any breaks to their seals and casings. For example, if the casing of a lithium ion battery, such as those used in mobile phones, became cracked and exposed to water during transportation, the battery could become flammable, and could also cause pollution from chemicals leaking through the casing.
You must prevent short circuits. A crushed or cracked battery can short circuit internally and become flammable. Secure your batteries firmly during transportation to prevent movement and damage. Pack batteries individually to prevent them touching one another, or any other metal or liquid surface that could cause short circuiting.
If you handle vented batteries (batteries which vent gases to the atmosphere) you must keep them well ventilated at all times to prevent the build up of potentially explosive gases.
Do not dismantle batteries yourself. This is highly dangerous.
Contact the battery manufacturer before you store, handle or transport the batteries. Ask for the relevant Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). This will describe the chemicals in the battery.
You must not dispose of waste industrial or automotive batteries in a landfill or by incineration. This does not include residues that have been treated and recycled in accordance with the batteries regulations.
Store all chemicals in an area where spills can be contained. This should be within a secondary containment system (SCS), such as a bund. The SCS should be able to contain at least 110% of the volume of the largest tank or 25% of the total volume likely to be stored, whichever is greater.
Have a pollution incident response procedure for dealing with spills. Ensure your staff understand the procedure and know how to follow it.
Report pollution incidents to the incident hotline as soon as they happen on 0800 80 70 60.
Minimise storage times for batteries on your site. Plan ahead for busy periods and try to co-ordinate collections so that batches ready for transportation to reprocessors accumulate quickly.
Store batteries as far away as possible from any drains, watercourses, or surface waters.
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.
Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Read more on the DAERA website
The NetRegs team at SEPA, in partnership with The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and a number of industry bodies have produced 9 new GPPs to replace out of date PPGs. More are coming! Check the available topics
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