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WasteCare: Battery producers face high entry costs to join schemes

Battery producers joining battery compliance schemes will face unnecessarily expensive administration fees, costing more than £5 million, when the battery regulations commence, according to an industry expert.

The Government recently approved the regulations into law (see MRW story). Under the regulations producers of batteries, which produce more than one tonne, will need to join BCSs in order to meet their responsibilities for collection and recycling. The regulations will be introduced on 5 May and the first compliance period begins on 1 January.

Recycling firm WasteCare chief executive Peter Hunt told MRW that he estimated that if the Government selects three BCSs the costs of a producer joining one before costs of the collection and recycling of batteries will total £5,203,000. He included application fees, subsistence fees, and Environment Agency fees. Hunt said that if collection and recycling is included this will cost the producer £20m.

He explained: The Government has taken a heavy handed approach to a simple problem. Both producers and compliance schemes will feel the burden. There are only a handful of battery companies, about 500 to 600, so the onus will fall on a handful.

They will have to face an administrative burden for only trying to put in place a simple collection scheme.

Hunt added that the high entry costs of joining a compliance scheme will discourage many from joining. 

He argued that if we end up with three compliance schemes there will be many squabbles because with only a handful of producers joining competition will be fierce to grab the well-known producers.

He said that the waste electrical and electronic equipment system should not have been different from the battery one and merged together to make the system simple.

We have created a new monster. Suddenly, we have a raft of regulations and a bureaucratic system to monitor. The administrative structure for the task involved is unnecessarily expensive for a small group of producers which seems a little unfair.

Hunt also said that the expense of funding a battery collection scheme may end up on the customer who purchases them as producers seek to claim back money for costs.

During the rest of 2009, potential BCSs will apply to the environment agencies, recruit battery producers and set up collection and recycling arrangements.


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