Proposed changes to UK Government definition of “portable battery”

Consultation document: Definition of a “portable” battery
Consultation document: Definition of a “portable” battery

The UK Government is consulting on amendments to the Government Guidance on the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 to clarify the definition of what constitutes a “portable battery”.

The proposed amendment will provide a clearer framework to help interpretation of whether a battery “can be hand-carried by an average person without difficulty”. It will remove the 4kg -10kg “grey area” and state a clear weight limit to determine whether a battery can be “hand carried” and is therefore a portable battery.

This proposal is being made as published UK summary data shows that portable battery producer obligations are increasingly being met using lead-acid evidence, predominantly from collections of mixed category lead-acid batteries. It is considered that this apparent ‘over collection’ of lead acid portable batteries is because of a difference in the way that the definition of a portable battery is being applied at the two ends of the chain i.e. when placing on the market (2012 – 8%) and at collection/reprocessing (2012 – 83%).

There is, therefore, a need for a clearer distinction between portable and industrial batteries in the guidance to the Batteries Regulations. This will ensure that both producers and treatment operators are better able to apply the same criteria in respect of the batteries that they handle.

The proposal will not affect the other components of the existing definition. It will remain important for; producers, treatment operators and exporters to give consideration to the full range of factors when taking a view on whether a battery is portable or industrial.

The consultation documents can be found at & consultation responses to be returned by Sunday, 22 February 2015.

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