Frequently asked questions

Please select a question from the drop down menu below or scroll down to browse all of the questions.

Producer Q & A

Q - When do I need to register?

A - Producers must be registered by 15/10/09.

Q - Why do I need to register?

A - By law, a battery producer must register with a scheme in order to aid the U.K in meeting European battery targets. All portable battery importers or manufacturers must register. Batteries supplied within equipment are included. Producers of less than 1 tonne per annum of batteries need only pay £30 registration fee to the EA and have no other responsibility. Producers of more than 1 tonne of batteries have a financial responsibility for their proportion of the national obligation of batteries placed on the market each year.

Q - What happens if I should, but don't register?

A - If you are a producer of batteries it is certainly advisable to register with a compliance scheme (or the EA if the amount is less than a tonne per year) as failure to do so will lead to investigation from the Environment Agency, potentially leading to fines and further enforcement. Fines for breaches of packaging compliance regulations have, in the past reached six figures.

Q - What difference does it make if I am registered for weee and/or packaging compliance?

A - It makes no difference; the battery regulations operate completely independently of the weee and packaging directives.

Q - How can BatteryBack confirm costs when the other schemes will not?

A - BatteryBack has very close links with major, established waste management companies. As such we have a great insight into the overheads involved with such an undertaking. We also have connections with leading compliance schemes in both Weee and Packaging, again; giving us a major advantage when creating a cost structure. BatteryBack already collects batteries throughout Britain. An existing low cost collection infrastructure exists and the costs are known.

Q - How do I know costs will not go up once we have joined BatteryBack?

A - BatteryBack is committed to keeping the cost of compliance to an absolute minimum for battery producers. Of course, this is dependant on whether the government decide to move the goalposts in some way. At the same time, BatteryBack is free to use the lowest cost service providers in the country, of course subject to compliance.

Q - What are the implications of being both a producer and a retailer of batteries?

A - You will take on both producer and retailer obligations. However, BatteryBack can offer excellent solutions for all areas surrounding the battery regulations. For producers we guarantee low cost compliance for all sizes of producer, whereby we are offering a fixed annual membership and a compliance cost of 1 pence per battery placed on the market. For most retailers we are simply offering a free collection service.

Q - As I import equipment already fitted with batteries can I avoid the regulations?

A - No, a producer is basically classed as the first person to bring batteries onto the UK market in whatever form this manifests itself. Being part of a product does not give the batteries exemption.

Q - What resources and technical expertise do BatteryBack have to enable them to achieve compliance?

A - BatteryBack is in a terrific position with regards to resources and expertise as it is fully backed and supported by, not one, but two leaders in the waste industry; Veolia and WasteCare. Both companies operate successful Packaging and Weee compliance schemes as well as collect and treat all types of batteries from throughout Britain.

Q - In regard to data reporting would BatteryBack request full 2009 figures or just from the 5th of May?

A - BatteryBack only requires battery sales figures from the 5th of May 2009; however, it will be better to provide data back to the 1st January 2009, as the EA will recalculate on a full year’s data.

Q - What provisions do you have or plan to have in place for the distribution of information to the general public?

A - For a start we are already raising awareness of BatteryBack (and subsequently the recycling of waste portable batteries) by having built a network of collection points (currently totalling well over a thousand locations), each containing eye-catching waste battery containers and publicity posters to match.

To follow up our publicity investments to date (including a double page spread in The Times newspaper) BatteryBack has plans to utilise many types of media in order to ensure the word is spread. In addition to the usual literature based strategies, BatteryBack is already preparing more wider reaching mediums in the form of radio and television in order to keep Britain heading towards the challenging battery recycling targets in the forthcoming years. Visit www.batteryback.org for details of our current information and publicity.

Q - As a producer of portable batteries we understand that we have an obligation to join a producer compliance scheme such as BatteryBack. This will have a significant impact on our future company budgets, yet we are struggling to obtain any actual prices from other schemes. Is BatteryBack in a position to accurately quote at present?

A - Yes we are! Unlike other schemes we have used our experience to foresee the current waste battery situation, setting up BatteryBack in the summer of 2008. Given the combined collection, infrastructure and treatment network from WasteCare and Veolia, BatteryBack is well aware of the cost of dealing with waste batteries, meaning we are in a good position to accurately forecast all potential charges. Simply, the compliance cost will average no more than 1 pence a battery placed on the market or 30 pence per kg.

BatteryBack will be delighted to help producers by offering fixed costs right now, do not hesitate to contact us!

Q - Why should I pay a penny a battery when schemes such as Econo Bat are offering 0.02 pence (Press release, Lets Recycle 09/06/09) ?

A - Firstly, are we comparing like with like? BatteryBack is guaranteeing that compliance costs will not exceed one penny per battery for 2010. The price covers all types of batteries and is regardless of quantity. Actually the cost is only 0.68 pence per battery and has been calculated to cover compliance costs up to 2012. The balance has been set aside for publicity to promote recycling. This has been included, in part to satisfy the regulations but also to ensure the scheme meets the annual targets. Some schemes may think that years 2010 and 2011 do not matter as the targets are not mandatory but the Department of Business Innovation and Skills(formerly BERR, formerly the DTI) have made it absolutely clear; if schemes cannot demonstrate by 31st March 2010 that they will be on target to meet the annual targets they will be struck off. BatteryBack is making every effort to ensure members not only meet their interim targets but will be on course to achieve compliance every year for the foreseeable future. If we over achieve in the early years then we are well placed to keep costs down for the future. By making best use of Veolia's and WasteCare's existing collection infrastructure we are certain BatteryBack offer the most competitive compliance solution in Britain.

Retailer and Distributor Q & A

Q - Do I have a financial responsibility?

A - Whilst you will have no direct financial responsibility for the collection and recycling of batteries, if you are a retailer or distributor of batteries, from the 1st February 2010, you will have an obligation to assist in their collection and recovery, if you place more than 32kg per year of portable batteries on the market. BatteryBack, offers a free treatment and recovery service to all retailers and distributors. For more details, see http://www.batteryback.org/Retailer.html

Q - What advice do I have to give my customers?

A - You must provide information at all sales points regarding take-back arrangements. An information leaflet is available for printing off at www.batteryback.org

Q - What options do I have to help my customers?

A - By using our take back service, you can offer customers the chance to recycle their batteries with ease and convenience on any of your retail sites, with no cost implication to your business. Again visit our website for details of a range of BatteryCans.

Q - What advice can I give my customers?

A - You should advise and encourage your customers to recycle as many batteries as possible at your retail outlet. Alternatively you can direct them to batteryback.org in order to use a postcode search to locate their nearest BatteryBack collection point. We know from experience that stores offering free BatteryBack recycling, simply, sell more batteries.

Q - What if I do not sell batteries separately but only in equipment?

A - You are not required to offer free battery recycling nor do you have any other responsibilities. You may, however, wish to offer the BatteryBack service. Visit www.batteryback.org for further advice and help.

Q - What infrastructure does BatteryBack have in place for the collection of waste batteries?

A - In terms of dealing with waste batteries, the combined collection, infrastructure and treatment network from both WasteCare and Veolia gives BatteryBack a huge head start over the other schemes. In essence BatteryBack will control all aspects of the disposal journey, from collections, to sorting, treatment and eventual 98% recovery. As the service is basically ‘in-house’ this gives BatteryBack greater control over potential treatment costs, these savings are reflected in our published compliance prices meaning low-cost compliance for all potential members. BatteryBack is continually seeking to complement the existing arrangements with other waste collection providers to help keep down the costs to the members.

Q - At what point in the chain will waste batteries be sorted into their various chemistries and by whom? Will this be an obligation to the customers?

A - This is not something that the customer will have to worry about as BatteryBack can collect mixed loads of portable batteries. Batteries will be segregated and bulked prior to treatment.

Other organisations wishing to offer battery collection Q & A

Q - As a Council authority, do I have any legal responsibility?

A - As a local authority you have no legal requirement to collect batteries or provide a service. However, the Government expect local authorities will wish to help residents and businesses within their region collect batteries for recycling. Also, as a user of batteries you need to make sure that from the end of this year they are not disposed of to landfill. We are ready to help you help the environment. BatteryBack offer a national collection service and free treatment for all types of batteries.

Consumers Q & A

Q - What happens to the batteries once they have been collected in?

A - The batteries are sorted into chemical type, bulked up and then sent on to treatment facilities for 100% recycling; recovering all base metals and plastics. For further information please visit http://www.batteryback.org/Recycle.html

Q - What are the environmental benefits of battery recycling?

A - Before these regulations came into force most batteries were discarded into landfill. Batteries contain various hazardous metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, manganese and lithium. It can be damaging to the environment to dispose of them through landfill and burning batteries also causes atmospheric pollution. Also, the resources that can be gained from the batteries are the very same materials being mined (at great cost) in other parts of the world. By helping to recycle batteries not only are you helping the environment but also helping to keep down the cost of new batteries.

Q - How does Britain compare with the rest of Europe?

A - We currently recycle less than 3% of portable batteries, whereas Belgium recovers over 50%. We do not compare very well; in fact we have one of the worst records in Europe. Recycling batteries is 10 times more expensive than sending them to landfill and up until now the government has done little to encourage better recycling rates. In Belgium there is a small levy on every battery to cover the cost of their recycling! In Britain, producers are expected to pick up the cost of collection and recycling. Each of us can help keep down the cost of batteries by putting our used batteries in a BatteryCan located at the local store. To find out the location of your nearest BatteryCan collection point please visit www.batteryback.org

Health and Safety information Q & A

Q - Are batteries dangerous?

A - Some batteries contain hazardous materials such as Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), Lithium(Li) and Mercury(Hg). Although these are hazardous to the environment and can be dangerous to health, batteries are safe to handle if handled correctly. Please follow these simple instructions;

  • Do not break open batteries. Dust particles released are hazardous.
  • Do not allow batteries to get wet. For instance, Lithium will spontaneously combust if in contact with water.
  • Do not expose batteries to excessive heat or fire. Batteries may explode in fire releasing toxic fumes
  • Do not short out batteries (i.e. allow the positive and negative terminals of the batteries to touch). Sudden discharges may cause heat or fire.
  • Do not mix dry batteries(sealed) with wet batteries(unsealed, such as lead acid). Leaking acid can cause damage and is a risk to human health.
  • Never use steel containers for storage. These can cause batteries to short out suddenly causing a fire or react with acids to create hazardous fumes. Always use properly labelled plastic containers.

Simply, be sensible and portable batteries are safe to handle. Always follow the instructions provided. If in doubt contact our helpline on 0844 800 5671.

If you have any further questions please contact us via enquiries@batteryback.org, or call Ali West on 0844 8005671.