The UK Government has opened a consultation on the definition of ‘portable’ batteries, in relation to its guidance on the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulation.
The consultation specifically looks at amending the definition of a portable battery to introduce a single weight threshold of 3 kilograms so that any battery weighing 3kg or less will be considered to be portable.
The need for clarification of the definition of ‘portable’ and ‘industrial’ batteries came after discrepancies in the collection of lead acid batteries in 2012, where almost triple the number of batteries placed on the market were collected.
Currently, when batteries are placed on the market, it is up to the producer of the battery to decide whether a battery weighing between 4kg and 10kg was portable or industrial. Subsequently, when batteries are being treated it is up to the treatment operator to make a separate decision. Therefore a battery could be placed on the market as industrial but treated as a portable battery
The proposed change is expected to reduce the UK’s overall portable battery tonnage, and increase the collection of non lead-acid batteries.