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26th July 2011

Waste battery thefts could get you locked up, warns G & P


Losing waste battery stocks could cost you more than inconvenience, it could find you in court, warns leading waste battery collection company, G & P Batteries.

Waste producers have a responsibility under Duty of Care for what happens to their waste long after it has left their premises.  If waste batteries are stolen, or sold for cash to a bogus collector, then there is no audit trail and companies could be faced with the threat of prosecution and heavy penalties.

“Rising metal prices means that battery theft remains a problem, particularly with waste automotive batteries,” said Michael Green, Managing Director of G & P. “The double whammy for those who are victims of theft is that they may also be classed as perpetrators of a crime by not being able to produce a proper audit trail for the recycling of their batteries.”

Since the introduction of The UK Waste Battery Regulations all waste batteries must be handled ultimately by an Authorised Battery Treatment Operator (ABTO) and 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.

“In the UK, metal thefts are reportedly the biggest crime after terrorism so prevent your premises from being vulnerable to theft by ensuring you have adequate security and taking care where you store your valuable waste,” advised Michael Green.  “If in doubt we are happy to advise and we can also offer secure battery banks to help reduce the risk.”

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 is 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,” said Michael Green.