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New portable battery definition now in effect

4th January 2016

Wayne Grant

The new definition of a portable battery now applies. The definition was amended after a consultation last year.

Defra published long-awaited proposals regarding changes to the definition of a portable battery last January. The consultation was launched as a result of discrepancies regarding the portable battery definition.

Click here to read more about the consultation

Portable battery definition amendment

The consultation concluded that Batteries which weigh over 4kg will no longer be classed as ‘portable’ when they become waste and present themselves for treatment.

Prior to this change, batteries which weighed over 10kg were classified as industrial and those under 4kg as portable batteries (if they were not considered industrial or automotive due to their characteristics). Batteries weighing between 4kg and 10kg were in a grey area and could be either portable or industrial depending on the battery’s characteristics.

This meant that batteries weighing up to 10kg had been declared as portable when they presented themselves to be recycled and suggests that recycling figures could be skewed as recyclers, unsure of the original use of lead acid batteries, may declare them as portable.

DEFRA have previously indicated that 83% of the UK’s 2012 battery recycling target was met through recycling lead acid batteries when they only made up 8% of new batteries placed on the market.

Under the new guidance, the 4kg – 10kg grey area has been removed and any battery intended for non-industrial use which weighs under 4kg will be considered portable and anything over industrial.

Amended definition

This change to the portable battery definition will come into effect from  1 January 2016 and will see a requirement for a greater effort in the UK to collect and recycle lighter portable batteries in order to meet targets. This in turn may see an increase in the costs producers have to pay for batteries recycling.

If you have any questions regarding the consultation or the new portable battery definition, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our batteries experts.

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