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4th November 2010

Don’t take short cuts around your Duty of Care, warns G & P


New legislation for the treatment of waste batteries means that transport operators need to be more careful than ever in following their Duty of Care responsibilities.

The UK Waste Battery Regulations, which came into force last year, decree that all waste batteries must be handled ultimately by an Authorised Battery Treatment Operator (ABTO) or exported via an Authorised Battery Exporter (ABE).  This is over and above all the other legislation concerning the storage and transport of waste batteries, which includes Hazardous Waste regulations, Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road regulations and Duty of Care regulations.  Businesses which do not check the credentials and audit trail of their waste battery collectors risk prosecution and heavy penalties.

‘Sadly, there are still unregistered battery collectors out there who are putting reputable businesses at risk,” said Michael Green, Managing Director of waste battery collection and recycling  specialists G & P Batteries.

“Often this happens through ignorance, as many industry outlets seem unaware of the fact that the waste producer has a Duty of Care for what happens to their waste, even after it has been collected.  The new waste battery regulations mean that the regulators are in a position to take an even tougher stance with those caught flouting the rules,” he warned.

The majority of lead acid batteries collected in the UK come from the automotive industry and more than 90% of them are recycled, making them one of the most recycled waste products in this country. However, G & P believes that, whilst the industry can be proud of this good track record, there is also evidence of an insufficient understanding of the complex legislation concerning waste batteries.

In England and Wales companies that produce waste batteries must be registered with the Environment Agency and pay an annual registration fee as a producer of Hazardous Waste.   Each movement of waste batteries must be accompanied by a Consignment Note signed by the waste battery producer and a fee must be paid to the Environment Agency.  Failure to do so can attract an on the spot fine. The operator who removes the waste batteries must be a registered Waste Carrier.  Waste producers also have a Duty of Care to ensure that their batteries are destined to be recovered or disposed of safely and in accordance with legislation, which will now include ensuring that all Automotive Batteries are ultimately dealt with by an ABTO or ABE.

The waste producer remains responsible for the description of the waste and its disposal.  It is therefore extremely important that the type of batteries being sent for collection are adequately and accurately described and that all responsibilities towards battery waste are met.  “Every site handling waste batteries should have a thorough understanding of the actions necessary to ensure compliant removal and disposal and the correct procedures should be in place to ensure these are carried out,” advised Mr Green.  “Good site security is also vital,” he added.