Battery Take Back Scheme
Batteries can contain heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead), which are the main cause for environmental concern. If waste batteries are not disposed of correctly, heavy metals may leak when the battery corrodes, and so can contribute to soil and water pollution and endanger human health. Due to the hazardous nature of batteries, the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2014 detail for how all types of waste batteries, such as portable, industrial and automotive should be disposed of. As waste batteries should not be added to ordinary waste or recycling bins, there are a number of key points to be familiar with in relation to the disposal of batteries.
The European Commission published a new Directive on the disposal of waste batteries in 2006. The main objectives of the Directive included:
- The environmental objective of creating a closed-loop system for all types of batteries so that they are not incinerated or disposed in landfill.
- The internal market objective of establishing basic rules for the proper functioning of national collection and recycling schemes.
Distributor / Retailer Obligations under the Directive
Producer Obligations under the Directive
Depositing waste batteries at retail outlets
In order to dispose of waste batteries, they should be deposited at a retail outlet or a local authority recycling facility. According to the requirements of the Waste Management (Batteries and Accumulators) Regulations 2014, retailers must take back waste batteries of the same type that they sell, free of charge. For example, if a retailer sells portable batteries such as types AAA, AA, Cell C, Cell D or PP3, they are obliged to take back these types of batteries from any customer. They are not however obliged to take back batteries which they do not have available for sale in their store. Note also that when depositing batteries with a retailer, a customer is not required to make a purchase at the time.
Both retailers and members of the public can also deposit waste portable batteries free of charge at local authority civic amenity facilities. Waste car batteries from privately registered vehicles can also be deposited by members of the public at local authority civic amenity facilities free of charge.
Two collective compliance schemes for waste batteries, ERP Ireland and WEEE Ireland, have been approved.
- The European Recycling Platform (ERP) in Ireland will collect in the functional areas of Limerick City Council and Cavan, Clare, Fingal, Kerry, Limerick, Meath and Monaghan County Councils.
- WEEE Ireland will collect in the functional areas of all the remaining local authorities and can be contacted at +353 (0)1 299 9320.
Depositing waste batteries at workplaces and schools/colleges
The 2014 Waste Management Regulations also permit all workplaces and schools/colleges to be designated as waste battery collection points, following the agreement of management. Businesses or schools/colleges that wish to provide battery depositing facilities on their premises may contact either the European Recycling Platform (ERP) Ireland or WEEE Ireland, as specified above.
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