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Battery Regulations will wipe out smaller producers, says WasteCare - UPDATE

The Governments proposed regulations on batteries are stratospherically expensive and if allowed to remain unchanged will help to destroy smaller battery producers, according to recycling company WasteCare.

In response to the Governments second consultation document on waste batteries, WasteCare chief executive Peter Hunt said that producers would face financial burdens on their business because costs to join producer compliance schemes are stratospherically expensive. The consultation came out before Christmas (See MRW story).

Hunt said: What is clear is that the Government intends to have the regulations in place later this year with producers being forced to join a compliance scheme by October 14 and be financially responsible for battery recycling from January 1 2010.

With an initial scheme application cost of £166,000, followed by an annual cost of £149,000, plus a member registration fee of £5,000, together with undisclosed costs of public promotion, these regulations aint for the poor.

A producer of batteries will be responsible for financing the collection, treatment and recycling of the quantity of new batteries the producer places on the market.

In July 2008, the first consultation document stated that multiple compliance schemes will be adopted. Hunt said the UK could end up with three compliance schemes and each member would pay more than £24,000 in set up costs before we even pick up or recycle a single battery.

The second consultation stated that all producers regardless of their size will have to register with a scheme and provide quarterly sales data. However, the Directive exempts producers who have a market share of less than 0.01% of batteries placed in the UK market. The consultation also states that the collection, treatment and recycling costs that would have fallen to small producers will instead fall on the larger ones. The Government estimates that there are 50 large battery producers.

With two major producers dominating the portable battery market, these regulations if introduced as drafted will help to wipe out the smaller producer while burdening consumers with extra unnecessary cost. Even so, no-one in the free world wants to be held to ransom by a monopoly.

If these draft regulations are allowed to remain unchanged, the cost of compliance will rise and everyone from consumers upwards will suffer. Meanwhile, they will do nothing to help the environment.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman added: Small producers will be exempt from the collection, treatment and recycling aspects of the regulations. The UK and Sweden have been the only two EU countries to propose such an exemption to minimise the financial burden of producers placing small quantities of batteries on the national market.

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