Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Selling batteries

What you need to know if you sell batteries

This guidance is relevant to your retail or wholesale business if you:

  • sell or distribute batteries
  • import batteries into the UK to sell
  • collect waste batteries.

Batteries regulations

The batteries regulations apply to distributors and producers of portable, industrial and automotive batteries.

You are a distributor if you sell or distribute batteries.

You are a producer if you import batteries, or goods containing batteries, or put batteries on the UK market for the first time.

You may have responsibilities as both a distributor and a producer.

Types of battery

Portable batteries are readily available for purchase by the general public or businesses, and are small enough to be carried by hand. Portable batteries include AA, AAA, C and D cells, button cells, mobile phone batteries and laptop batteries.

Products that use portable batteries include cameras, toys, laptops, cordless power tools, watches, electric toothbrushes and television remote controls.

An industrial battery is designed exclusively for industrial or professional use, such as batteries used in professional video equipment or studios, or in electric vehicles such as golf buggies.

An automotive battery is used for starting, lighting or ignition power for vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, vans, lorries, buses and tractors.

What you must do if you distribute portable batteries

Allow customers to return waste batteries

If you sell more than 32kg of portable batteries to end users per year, you must allow consumers to return waste batteries free of charge to your retail outlet. This applies if you sell batteries in a store, online or via mail order.

Use the Defra battery calculator to find out if you sell more than 32kg of batteries a year.

Defra: Battery calculator

Store and dispose of waste batteries correctly

Collect waste batteries in a secure container.

Contact a battery compliance scheme to collect the waste batteries. The collection will be free of charge.

Contact your environmental regulator for a list of battery compliance schemes.

Contact your environmental regulator

What you must do if you import portable batteries

Join a battery compliance scheme or register with your environmental regulator

If you import portable batteries, or goods containing batteries, or put portable batteries on the UK market for the first time, you must:

  • join a battery compliance scheme, or
  • register with your environmental regulator.

What you must do if you import industrial or automotive batteries

Register and take back waste batteries from your customers

If you import industrial or automotive batteries, or put them on the UK market for the first time, you must:

  • take back waste batteries free of charge from your customers
  • register with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) using the National Packaging Waste Database.

National Packaging Waste Database

Further information on the batteries regulations

Batteries regulations

GOV.UK: Placing batteries on the UK market

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