The most significant amendment relates to the definition of “sealed” batteries. The wording of the revised guidance now makes it clear that valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries are considered portable batteries, unless the producer has expert evidence which convinces the EA to the contrary.
Commenting on the update Wastecare’s Chairman, Peter Hunt, said: “While many would argue it makes little sense to include any lead batteries within the Waste Battery Regulations as the value of the recovered lead means they are generally recycled anyway, we recognize this would require regulatory change and that would take some time. In the absence of new regulations, we welcome the EA’s renewed efforts to level up the playing field for all battery producers. The classification of VRLA batteries, weighing less than 4Kg, as portable batteries needed to be clearly defined and must now be consistently enforced by the Agency.”
Hunt believes this will ensure the market works more efficiently and that the increasing reliance of the UK battery producer regime on portable lead-acid batteries to meet the 45% statutory collection targets will be dramatically reduced. “For too long this imbalance has badly affected the whole battery recycling industry, restricting the growth in collection rates, causing serious environmental damage and representing a huge financial cost for many. We look forward to continuing to support lead acid battery producers in meeting their compliance requirements.”