Three battery producer compliance schemes will be chosen by regulators to collect and recycle batteries on behalf of producers, according to an industry stakeholder.
The battery consultation published before Christmas (see MRW story) proposes that producers of portable batteries will need to join a batteries compliance scheme (BCS) which will be responsible for the collection and recycling of batteries on behalf of producers.
Speaking to MRW Veolia Environmental Services waste electrical and electronic equipment commercial manager Roger Miller said: The proposals in the consultation document seem complicated and the regulators appear to want a few number of schemes so that they can get them around the table together to communicate more practically than if you have a large number of schemes.
They appear to have aimed at getting possibly three BCSs because it makes sense mathematically against declared figures in the document.
Veolia has a WEEE compliance scheme and is hoping to become a BCS.
Although it is not stressed in the document literally, Miller said that the number of BCSs will be whittled down to three because three BCSs will cover the cost of managing, policing and regulating the Directive as detailed in the consultation document.
Those wishing to start a BCS will have to go through a two-stage thoroughly assessed approval process and be approved by the Environment Agency. BCSs will be charged £149,000 per year for registration of its members and to cover EA costs (see MRW story).
The Government estimates that there are 1,000 producers and on this estimate they would each have to pay an average of £447 to their BCSs for EA registration alone if shared equally. Miller said that Government costs could be balanced with the fees if there were three BCSs.
He said that potential problems would occur if there were just three schemes and some producers may decide to flock to one scheme over the other. This may potentially leave one scheme with more members than the others creating more expense for the producers joined up to the scheme with less members sharing the £149,000 EA fee. Smaller producers may be pushed out of the market because of high costs and producers may start taking batteries out of products like remote controls to save on cost.
Miller added: Certain aspects from the consultation seem pre-determined. Although thoughts will be considered, they already know which way they would prefer to go. Issues such as time constraints may render it impossible to consider all the feedback. They may even have to do another consultation if they get a consistent adverse response to this one.
EA batteries project manager Bob Mead said: We are not fixing a number for battery compliance schemes. It depends on how many applications we get. No decisions will be taken until we see how many applications we get.We will approve any scheme that meets the criteria.