Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Businesses affected by the batteries regulations

Are you affected by battery recycling?

Different types of business are affected by batteries regulations including:

  • producers, i.e. anyone placing batteries on the UK market on a professional basis - this can be loose or within electrical and electronic equipment
  • distributors and retailers
  • recyclers and exporters of waste batteries.

Battery producers

You are a producer of batteries if you manufacture or import batteries or appliances containing batteries and place them on the UK market for the first time. Examples of producers include:

  • businesses with a UK presence that import batteries into the UK and then sell them wholesale in the UK
  • businesses with a UK presence that manufacture or import products which include batteries (such as laptop computers) into the UK and then sell them in the UK
  • UK battery manufacturers that sell to the general public or retailers.

Examples of businesses that aren't producers include those that:

  • import batteries into the UK and then sell them overseas without placing any on the UK market
  • buy batteries wholesale from another business that has already placed the batteries on the UK market.

For information on how to comply with producer obligations, see the pages in this guide on Industrial and automotive battery producer responsibilities and Portable battery producer responsibilities.

Battery distributors and retailers

The regulations place obligations on distributors, ie those supplying portable batteries on a professional basis to end users. If you supply 32 kilograms or more of portable batteries to end users per year, you must comply with the distributor requirements. This includes retailers that supply batteries to consumers and/or businesses. If you only supply batteries contained within equipment - rather than separate batteries - you do not have to take back waste batteries from end users.

Examples of distributors include:

  • a retailer that sells them to end users - whether a business or the general public
  • wholesalers that supply both to end users and retail outlets.

'Supply' includes selling, providing and/or making available portable batteries to end users.

If you are unsure whether you supply 32 kilograms or more of batteries you can use an online battery weight calculator on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website.

DEFRA: Battery calculator

For more information, see the page in this guideline on Portable battery distributor and retailer responsibilities.

Be aware that it is possible for you to be both a producer and a distributor.

Battery users

Battery users have no obligations under the batteries regulations. However, they should dispose of their waste batteries in an environmentally sound way. For example, the disposal of whole, untreated industrial and automotive batteries in landfill or by incineration is banned. See the page in this guide on How end users can recycle waste batteries.

Treating, recycling or exporting waste batteries

If you are involved in the treatment, recycling or export of waste batteries for recycling you must comply with a number of obligations. For more information, see the pages in this guide on Treating or recycling waste batteries and Exporting waste batteries.

Further information

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has produced guidance on the regulations.

GOV.UK: Producer responsibilities – materials, labelling, design and enforcement

GOV.UK: Guidance for battery suppliers and retailers

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Regulations

ROHS Regulations

Hazardous/special waste

In this Guideline

Businesses affected by the batteries regulations

Identifying different battery types

Substance restrictions and battery labelling

Industrial and automotive battery producers responsibilites

Portable battery producers responsibilities

Portable batteries: distributor and retailer responsibilities

How end users can recycle batteries

Treating or recycling waste batteries

Exporting waste batteries

Battery compliance scheme operators responsibilities

Batteries: Environmental legislation

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