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More accurate recycling as Defra announces change to the batteries regulations

Yesterday, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced a change to the classification of portable batteries, which will improve reporting accuracy.

The announcement comes as a result of a consultation process that was first run in 2013 and repeated at the beginning of this year. Following industry feedback, Defra has taken the decision to reduce the maximum weight of a portable battery to 4kg. This means that any battery over 4kg will be deemed as automotive or industrial.

Battery classification grey area

The decision addresses a “grey area” that exists when classifying batteries that weigh between four and 10kg.

This centres around the the disparity between the chemistry of batteries being placed onto the market and those being recycled. As battery recyclers are often unaware of a battery’s intended use, it has previously been difficult to determine whether they should be classed as industrial or portable.

Using a weight threshold is the easiest way to ensure that industrial batteries are not classified as portable when recycled. This change will help to ensure that batteries are classified the same by both producers (when sold) and recyclers (when recycled).

Reducing uncertainty

David Burton, policy director at ecosurety, commented “The removal of the grey-area helps to reduce uncertainty in classifying batteries. Having established over 7,000 collection points, we’re keen to encourage greater public engagement to ensure that less batteries end up in landfill. We have also strategically positioned ourselves by pre-empting and preparing for the effects of this change in the interest of our members.”

To find out more about how this change may affect you, simply contact our team on 0845 094 2228.


Robbie Staniforth

Head of policy

Having gained a wealth of experience in regulatory affairs, waste issues and secondary commodity market analysis, Robbie uses his skills internally as an operational board member and externally to influence legislation change as head of policy. He is responsible for liaising with government, regulators and industry organisations to articulate complex views and interests and to provide high-level policy expertise, industry insight and market analysis to our members.


Written by Robbie Staniforth Published 20/08/2015 Topics Compliance

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