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Government responds to cadmium and mercury battery ban

Response to the consultation about the ban on cadmium and button cells with low mercury content.

The Government has recently published its response to the consultation on implementing the ban on batteries containing cadmium (used in power tools) and button cells with low mercury content. Current exemptions mean adverse health effects are not taken into account by some companies producing and selling these battery types, even though in both cases alternative and safer chemistries are available.

The consultation sought views on the implementation policy, draft 2015 Regulations and a draft Impact Assessment. This is of particular relevance to the producers of batteries and companies that are tasked with treating these batteries, with proposed amendments to be made to the Batteries and Accumulators Directive 2006/66/EU as stipulated through the European Directive 2013/56/EU.

It is hoped that the implementation of the new amended Directive would:

  • Remove the cadmium and mercury exemptions over a reasonable period of time (From 31 December 2016 and 31 October 2015 respectively)
  • Diminish the amount of NiCd batteries in household waste that are released into the environment through landfill
  • Help reduce the risk of mercury polluting the environment
  • Increase competition and consumer choice by enabling consumers to go to independent qualified professionals, not exclusively those representing the manufacturers, for replacement of batteries in products

There was a general consensus from the consultation responses that the Government’s draft regulations accurately reflect the Amended Directive and had correctly assessed that the changes would not have a significant economic impact on business and consumers. However, not all respondents agreed with the familiarisation cost which was reflected in a revised Impact Assessment.

The summary acknowledged the support of ecosurety for the proposed changes to the Regulations and the fairness to the market for producers of batteries. The technology affected by this change is unlikely to have an adverse impact for ecosurety producers as many have already switched to new technologies, however ecosurety has asked the Government to issue a simple guide to explain the required changes which would help with any required transition.

We are pleased that the Government has taken on board our feedback, including that of our members - the likely outcome is very much in line with our original response and expectations. We continue to be committed to policy development and we always seek to engage our members in this process.

It is expected that the Regulations will be laid before Parliament in early February 2015 and enter into force, in line with the Coalition Government policy, on 1 July 2015 (the transposition deadline for the Amended Directive). It is expected that new battery regulations will be released with changes to battery chemistry requirements imminently.

If you have any queries about the consultation, draft 2015 Regulations or your batteries membership please contact our Compliance Team on 0845 094 2228 or email batteries@ecosurety.com.

 


Colin Porter

Compliance technical specialist

Colin joined in October 2011 as a compliance technical specialist. He's involved in operational planning for all regulations, helping his packaging regs members with their legal obligations and identifying prospective new members with obligations under the regulations.


Written by Colin Porter Published 16/02/2015 Topics Compliance

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