The Government has opted for a multiple producer compliance scheme system over a single scheme to ensure the UK meets the requirements of the Batteries Directive.
In a response to a December 2007 consultation on the Batteries Directive, the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) summarised plans for the Directive, which is due to come into force on September 26.
The Batteries Directive works in similar way to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and it requires producers of batteries to take responsibility for the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries. Producer compliance schemes take responsibility off producers and carry out their responsibilities for them.
The Government acknowledges that a single scheme system would cover a whole territory and make it easier for producers to join and keep costs at a fixed price. The Waste & Resources Action Programme and the Local Government Association favoured such a scheme in their response. But the Government said that a multiple scheme would provide more flexibility for producers, giving them an element of choice and potentially resulting in their incurring lower costs.
Under the European Union Batteries Directive the UK must collect 25% of waste portable batteries by 2012, even though it currently collects only 3%. In the UK no producer responsibility scheme offers a single scheme system - they all offer a multiple ones.
However, in choosing a multiple scheme the Government is aware of the risks of that approach and has cited the WEEE system as an example of problems over evidence trading costs. It said that it had to ensure that trading of evidence is limited and not used as the primary means of discharging obligations and ensure that compliance schemes provide coverage to the whole territory of the UK, as necessary.
The Government has also acknowledged that the new regulations are unlikely to be fully introduced until the start of next year, even though they had been scheduled to be transposed into UK law in September.